AIREDALE Hospital has unveiled its newly-refurbished child development centre.

A special ribbon-cutting ceremony was performed by seven-year-old Aryan Downey, a patient.

Improvements at the centre have included the installation of automatic doors, new toilets and a lowered reception desk, which enables small children and those in wheelchairs to see the staff.

“Just simple changes mean that the whole centre is more welcoming,” said Alison Rohatynskyj, children’s therapy manager.

“Those with mobility issues can get in and out easily, and reception staff can directly address the child rather than just their parent.

“This is child-centred care which will make a real difference.”

At the opening ceremony, current and retired staff – together with patients’ families – enjoyed tea and cake.

Little Aryan has been attending the centre for most of his life.

His dad, Sam, pays tribute to the care and support received.

“Aryan was born premature at 24 weeks and had a bleed on the brain which has left him with cerebral palsy and other developmental delays,” he said.

“As a parent it was a scary experience, but the child development centre has been a great place to come and meet other parents and it has a good support network.

“It’s also good for Aryan to meet other children with different needs so he knows he’s not the only one.

“We’ve always had the support of this great facility. It’s just good to know it is here.”

The centre opened in the early 1980s.

It was expanded in 1989, with the extension being opened by the late Princess Diana.

Children and young people aged up to 19 can be referred to the centre for assessment.

It caters for youngsters with a range of conditions and disabilities, from developmental delay, cerebral palsy and autism to neuromuscular difficulties and genetic conditions.