A couple of weeks ago I answered the phone and was greeted with
“hello, is that mum on a mission?”
Immediately I panicked as a) no one ever actually calls me that in real life and b) I thought I might be about to get in trouble!
Turns out it was a very lovely lady from Flip Out in Chichester calling to have a chat about how they could be more disability friendly.
Well of course I welcomed that phone call with open arms (do you welcome a phone call with open arms?). And today I went along to meet with her and to see their facilities.
To say I was blown away would be an understatement. The staff were incredible and were so receptive to everything I suggested and really keen to make sure they get everything right.
I’m used to dealing with hostile businesses who squirm at the thought of spending money simply to allow disabled people to visit their venues. That is not the case here. Flip Out may not have the resources to make changes immediately but that’s not putting them off wanting to try.
We talked about hoisting solutions to help wheelchair users get down onto the trampolines safely. Something they are very keen to provide as they really do understand the need for it.
We discussed special sessions for disabled users but also offering people the option to be able to visit during normal opening hours.
They were even keen to try and fit a changing bench and hoist into their disabled toilet.
These people get it. They understand that there are no places in our local area where families like ours can go and have fun without a lot of difficulty. They also realised that there isn’t anywhere that disabled children can have fun with their siblings and their parents and they want to be the place that does just that.
Right now if you visit Flip Out with a disabled child you will be welcomed and you will be able to have a lot of fun. They will happily find you a safe secluded space to bounce safely away from other children. They will provide mats and assistance if you need it.
They even had a rebound therapy trained staff member and are hoping to train more staff!
They are planning to introduce some SEND sessions which will allow families to visit safe in the knowledge they won’t be judged or made to feel uncomfortable. Although from today’s experience I can’t imagine that would happen at any session. The SEND sessions will include siblings too so the whole family can have fun.
They plan to have an area sectioned off for the more vulnerable children. Children like William who need to lay down without the risk of being jumped on!
They understand the need to adjust the music and lighting depending on visitors needs and want to ensure they are working with families to really understand individual needs.
We talked about families being able to explain the needs of their children when they are booking so that they can do their best to tailor that particular session to the families who have pre-booked.
As far as facilities go, their set up is incredible. I’d never been to a trampoline park before so I was surprised to find the trampolines all at floor level with walkways in between the different bouncing areas.
They have a lift to each floor and the disabled toilet, although small, may be able to accomodate a changing bench and hoist in time. That is something we are going to investigate further.
They are going to look at ways to make the safety briefing more suitable for families of disabled children. Perhaps an email link to the video they currently show in the briefing room, or perhaps a hand out. This is something they will be looking into as they know not all children are able wait or watch the briefing.
Of course all this will take time to implement but the staff there are excited about this and want to do whatever they can as soon as they can. They need to secure funding for hoisting and other equipment which could take a while, so please let me know if you are aware of any pots of money they can apply to for funding.
So if you are looking for a fun day out with the kids, regardless of their abilities, do consider Flip Out. It is good now and it’s only going to get even better!
If there is anything which would allow you or your children to visit Flip Out then please leave a comment below & I will pass it on.
Pre-book your time slots here