The Mayflower Centre

The Mayflower Centre is a respite centre for children with severe disabilities. Children stay here for anything from a day to a week to give the parents a break and to provide the children with a stimulating environment.

The kids look happy here. There is no institutional feel here. The CCP says its aim with its facilities is to create the feeling of a home and a family, and the success of this objective is evident.

This girl does not talk to the other children, but spends all her time staring into the fish tank:

The centre is clean, colourful and homely. Parts of the NHS could learn a lot from this place.

There is also a special room designed to stimulate all of the senses of the children, with music, sounds, coloured lights, massage facilities, etc. The room was too dark to photograph at the time of our visit, so I had to settle for a shot of the windchimes just outside.

The centre needs quite a lot of specialist equipment to care for the kids, all of which of course costs money.

The relatively low light inside the centre made photography quite challenging (1600ISO, f/2.8 and slow shutter speeds), so I asked if it would be possible for any of the children to come outside. One girl said she would, and I wouldn't have asked the question if I'd known how tiring it would be for her. To walk down a ramp and around 50 metres took about ten minutes, with frequent rests on the way.

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