A KENDAL-based sensory centre for disabled people is fighting against the threat of closure.

Aura Cumbria was set up by Paul and Lucy Williams in 2016 with the aim of providing a place designed specifically with disabled people in mind.

And now a Gofundme page is raising money with the aim of keeping it open.

The extensive space - decked-out in bright colours with an almost storybook-like feel - allows visitors to explore their senses and “make their own choices” in a controlled environment. There is, for example, fibre-optic lighting, a ‘sensory gym’ and a ball tub.

Mrs Williams, a qualified social worker, said she and her husband, who owns a support business for adults and children, had funded and kitted-out the whole operation themselves.

Despite it putting intense pressure on the pair - including contributing to a breakdown which Mr Williams suffered last year - they said they continued to do the work because of the people who use the space.

“You can see the joy it has on their faces,” said Mr Williams during one of the regular sessions at the sensory gym. “But it’s more than that. If you just look behind you now, you can see two parents communicating with each other - they didn’t know each-other till it opened.”

Debbie Austin, whose daughter Lucy, 11, has autism and a severe learning disability, said: “Aura is something that’s been built with disabled children in mind rather than expecting disabled children to fit into whatever the mainstream provides.”

She added: “Since this (sensory) gym’s opened it’s opened up a whole new world for Lucy really.”

Charlotte Wight, whose 14-year-old son Robert has autism and other complex needs, said Aura had been ‘the making’ of him.

“It’s allowed him to realise he can do things he couldn’t do in other mainstream groups,” she said. “It’s also a place where he works on other areas of health and wellbeing to develop them into strengths.”

Another parent, Sam McGhee, has set up a fundraiser to save Aura, which is struggling due to a lack of outside financial help and the burden of council tax. The Gofundme page has raised £1,100 so far.

Visit www.gofundme.com/f/aura-the-uks-only-sensory-gym to donate.