Charity swings in to Gloucestershire with site acquisition

Bristol charity Gympanzees has secured £2.2m of lending from Triodos Bank UK to help purchase a site near Aust in South Gloucestershire.

The site will be turned into a purpose-built Gympanzees centre, which will provide disabled children, young people, and their families with a safe space to exercise, have fun and socialise with others. The centre will be the first of its kind in the UK and will welcome over 200,000 visitors each year.

With plans to open the doors to families from 2026, the centre will be designed to cater for children and young people with the most severe physical disabilities, who require support for all their needs and movements, through to those with autism and ADHD who can be incredibly active.

The site, which is an old motorway services and easily accessible for families in the South West and Wales, will be the first permanent home for Gympanzees. Until now, it has been running events in the Easter and summer holidays in special schools. These are smaller ‘pop-up’ versions of the proposed centre and have been running for five years with over 21,000 visitors welcomed in 130 days.

Stephanie Wheen, CEO and founder of Gympanzees, said: “We have achieved this mammoth first step in fundraising and purchased the building, now we need to fit it out and deliver this much-needed centre for disabled children and their families.”

John Sharpe, business banking relationship manager at Triodos Bank UK, added: “We’re pleased to play a pivotal part in this important next chapter for Gympanzees. Our finance always aims to have a positive impact and we can see what a difference this permanent centre will make to the lives of young people with disabilities and their families.”

As well as the lending from Triodos, the £3.1m site was purchased with support from The Nisbet Trust, Rockcliffe Charitable Trust, The Sunrise Foundation and individual gifts. Gympanzees were also donated over £200k of pro bono work to secure the site by Stride Treglown, BOM IT Solutions, Osborne Clarke, Northen QS, JLL, Hydrock and Burston Cooke.

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