Let there be light!
It started out as a mum’s idea to give other youngsters the same help and enjoyment as her own disabled son.
And now, devoted mum Barbara Hall is seeing her dream come true.
The 40-year-old, of South Shore, has set up a sensory and UV light play room – a bigger version of one her son Tristan has benefited from at home.
Tristan was born with Edwards Syndrome, but the seven-year-old has defied doctors’ expectations and medical odds.
He is now one of the oldest children living with the condition in the UK – 95 per cent of babies with the condition do not survive past their first birthday.
The rare genetic condition affects the heart and digestive tract and causes delays in growth and development. Tristan relies on his mum for 24/7 care.
But he had got a lot from a stunning multi-sensory room, including lights, music, and UV pictures, Barbara created for him at home.
She wanted to recreate the same effect for other youngsters – and their families and adults who could benefit from stimulation and relaxation – here in Blackpool.
Months – and a lot of painting – later, Tristan’s Light House officially opens its doors tomorrow.
Based just off the Promenade, on Lytham Road, the building offers three sensory rooms with different themes – Deep Sea Room, Jungle Room and Space Room.
The walls are painted with scenes fitting the theme, UV paint and rooms have multi-sensory toys, a ball pool, bubble tubes and music.
There is special seating for people with disabilities – all rooms are accessible and the venue has a disabled toilet.
Everything has been planned by Barbara, who set up the project after noticing there was nothing similar in the area.
She said: “It feels amazing to see it open. I knew what the sensory room at home does for Tristan and I wanted to share that with others.
“There are great sensory rooms which exist, but nothing quite the same with the idea of play and UV light. There is The Space Centre in Preston, but I wanted something in Blackpool.
“It’s near The Promenade, so it’s of use to holiday-makers, as well.
“Tristan has given the rooms his seal of approval, he loves the space room.
“The rooms can be used for anyone, particularly those with special needs, to provide relaxation, or stimulation.
“And somewhere to chill out for people with stress and anxiety.”
Barbara says she is grateful for the help she has had setting up the project.
She said: “At times it was difficult and my family and friends have been great,
“I’ve been working on the rooms for about five hours a day for a few months and my daughter Linda and her boyfriend helped too.
“All the trades people have been fantastic, I am overwhelmed by their generosity.
“I have to thank Mark Wilde from Electrical Contracting Service, Jason Singleton from Jay Joinery and Interiors, plasterer David Duffy, Prince Plumbing, Gary Middleton from Birch Carpets, Micky’s Carpets and solicitor Rupert Hale. Without them, I honestly don’t think I could have done this.
“It’s so nice the way people went the extra mile. I think once they meet Tristan, people just want to help – everyone falls in love with him.
“This is all because of him.”
For more information and prices for Tristan’s Light House, visit www.tristans-lighthouse.co.uk or call (01253) 342713.