Under threat centre is a ‘vital lifeline’ for families

Vital: Lorraine Jenkins and her son Leon Dalton-Jenkins
Vital: Lorraine Jenkins and her son Leon Dalton-Jenkins
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“The Space Centre is somewhere I can let my child be just like a regular child.”

Those are the words of Lorraine Jenkins, the sole carer for son Leon, who relies heavily on the under-threat facility.

Lorraine, 41, from Spendmore Lane, Coppull, has been visiting the SPACE Centre at Pedders Lane, Ashton, Preston, ever since her nine-year-old son Leon Dalton-Jenkins was diagnosed with rare brain disorder Lissencephaly when he was 18 months old.

And the mum-of-one would be devastated if the centre were to close.

The facility, which has been providing vital services for severley disabled people across Lancashire for almost 20 years, is in dire straits due to an £800,000 funding black hole and has launched a desperate appeal for fundraising help.

Lorraine said: “The SPACE Centre is the only place that can accomodate Leon and his friends, who are also disabled, for things such as birthday parties and social meetings.

“Even though other facilities have disabled access outside the front door, the SPACE Centre is the only place where all his needs are catered for inside the building too.”

Because of his condition, Leon can only communicate with other people via vocal noises, facial gestures or crying and he is completely reliant on his mother to take care of him.

Lorraine said: “The centre is just brilliant. If you book a session with them they always ask what your requirements are in regards to the music and projections. Some people take their children who suffer from autism to relaxation sessions where soothing music and projections really help to calm them down.

“Leon’s favourite things are the hammock swing and the heated water bed. They have mirrors low down so that he can see himself smiling in them, it’s just little things like that that mean a lot.”

Lorraine and Leon, like other regular SPACE Centre users, would have no where else to go if the facility was to close down.

Lorraine added: “If the SPACE Centre closed it would be awful. It is needed by so many people.”

Since news broke that the centre had suffered the cash blow, fundraisers have started efforts to save the facility.

Lorraine will be taking part in a fancy dress sponsored bike ride of the Guild Wheel on November 18.

For those wishing to get involved or make a donation, the group will be meeting at the Marina cafe at Preston Docks at 11am.