Tom is jumping for joy with new job at trampoline park

Tom is jumping for joy with new job at trampoline park
Tom Perry

Tom Perry was a frequent visitor to the attraction in Morley Road and now helps to run their Relaxed sessions.

The 27 year old, from Marden, has joined the staff after he expressed an interest in taking up the role on several occasions.

At the age of 15 he was diagnosed with Dravet Syndrome, a rare and severe form of epilepsy that has caused severe autism and learning and behavioural difficulties. He has lived with the condition since he was five months old, but it was only identified when French paediatric psychiatrist Charlotte Dravet discovered a rogue gene.

Jump In Trampoline Park’s Regional Manager, Joe Upstone, said: “He got to know the staff here very well, and would come in with a big smile and greet us.

“He always asked questions like ‘have you got any jobs?’ and we’d say ‘not at the moment’, but he would keep coming back to it. So we wanted to give him a chance, and thought the SEN session would be perfect for him because the session is already very inclusive.”

He added: “I spoke to Tom’s parents, who were more than happy to cooperate, but asked us if we would go through the proper process. So we asked him along for an interview. I asked him all the usual questions and he was able to give a good response. You could tell he really wanted the job.”

Joe added: “It’s been a positive experience for everyone to be able to include Tom. We are a place for everyone and don’t discriminate, which fits our core values.”

Tom is paired with another member of staff with a carer present. His tasks include marshalling and checking wristbands, and he also oversees safety on the trampolines.

Shane Kugthasan, who has been Tom’s carer for four years, said: “He knows the rules and knows what’s right and wrong, and during the session he will assist customers and make sure everyone is sticking to the rules.

“He takes it quite seriously. If there are any new faces on the staff he makes sure he tells them he’s the person running the shift, which is quite funny.

“No one treats him any different, and we’re grateful to Joe, who went above and beyond what is expected. They are always catering to Tom’s needs. They get him.”

Tom’s mother, Sue, said: “We are really grateful to Jump In. They have embraced Tom when it’s something they could have very easily shied away from because Tom can have his moments where he’s not on top form.

“This has given him an opportunity he might not have otherwise had. It normalises him. Tom doesn’t see himself as having any problems.

“He wants to be the same as everyone else and he wants to be able to have a job, and this gives him real self-esteem.”

Regular SEN sessions are held at Jump In Trampoline Park on Wednesdays from 4-6pm and Sundays from 9-10am. Sessions cost £7 and are free to carers.

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