A RESPITE centre for children with learning disabilities is celebrating its third "Outstanding" Ofsted in two years.

The Elms, which is run by charity West House, held a party on Monday to celebrate two years of running the service as well as its latest top-rating by the Government watchdog.

The facility welcomes four children per day aged between eight and 18, but the charity also runs youth clubs and holds residential trips across West Cumbria.

Mark Swanston, registered manager, said: "It's a big achievement for us. It's rewarding not just for myself but all the staff that put a lot of hard work in. It makes a real difference to the children that we support as well."

The centre has four rooms and children can chose their own room and bedding when they stay to promote independence. The centre has chickens, which the children help look after, as well as a vegetable patch used for promoting healthy eating. Outside there is also a trampoline and a mud kitchen.

Mr Swanston said: "I think what makes a difference is that we support children to do what they want to do, we don't look at the disability. The children love being outside and doing things like collecting the eggs in the morning. We have 28 families that use the service for overnight stays, but we support 139 in total with the non-residential activities and the youth clubs."

The Elms uses sensory equipment in its rooms and its bathroom. Children can pick their own music and coloured lights to relax during bath time.

Jan Wdowczyc, of Sensorykraft, which provided the equipment, said: "It's a case of being able to offer a nice, positive, calming environment for bath-time, which can be quite a stressful experience. "

Celia Tibble, a member of the charity, said: "I think it's an incredible service and it provides respite that children and parents so desperately need." Cathy Parker, operations director, said: "I just think it's fantastic that we got another Outstanding rating and credit goes to the people who work here and manage the facility. The children is what it's all about."