Thank you to Scott Thomson and family, who shared their thoughts with us about Thomley and the impact of our closure during lockdowns:
“When Boris Johnson announced the national lockdown on the 22nd of March 2020 I think we all wondered what we were going to miss most. For the majority “family and friends” was their first thought, for parents of young children it could have been “schools” and for others it may have been “work” or “gyms” or “pubs” or “restaurants” etc.
But for us as a family it was Thomley. Knowing it would be closing was going to leave a huge void, our haven had been snatched away from us. So when they informed us that they would be re-opening in the summer a phantom weight was lifted instantly from our shoulders. Just knowing that we were going to be able to return to Thomley had such a positive impact on our mental health. In the past however tough of a week we were having it was ok and it didn’t matter because we always had “our Saturdays” at Thomley to look forward to.
Returning was simply magical, our 5 year old son who is pre verbal and diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder had his space and his freedom back. He can be exactly who he is at Thomley without any judgement, he is safe at Thomley. To have Thomley back in our lives and our weekly routine made such a big difference to us as a family. Myself and my wife can relax there like nowhere else, our youngest son adores going there and in fact “Thomley” was one of the very first words he ever spoke. Even though there were restrictions because of the ongoing pandemic Thomley gave us a break from the new Covid lifestyle we were all becoming accustomed to.
Once there you could see the smiles, the relief and the happiness radiate from all of the other families like ours who need all that Thomley offers so this trumped the sadness and madness going on in reality outside of the big green Thomley gates. To see the amazing staff again was fantastic, they make Thomley into the family it is and it truly felt like being welcomed back home. Having Thomley’s facilities available again for our son changed our lockdown completely, his sensory needs could be met there and with the specialist play equipment to cater for his additional needs he managed to regulate his emotions and behaviour more easily.
Thomley is an incredibly special place for all it provides for families like mine, and though a cliché, you don’t always appreciate what you’ve had until it’s taken away”.
Scott Thomson, father of Teddy Thomson (Thomley’s biggest fan)