Hi Everyone. I recently came across this post on The Disability Union Facebook page and would like to see disability compliant play equipment being installed across the country. But thought I would start in Bedfordshire. The following information is from a Southampton council area that has had disability equipment installed in their children’s playground areas along with 2 places in Central Bedfordshire (links supplied). Below is a letter that you can use and edit to send to your local council if you would like to see inclusive equipment in children’s play areas across the country.
I am pleased to announce that a wheelchair swing has been installed at Holly Hill play area, next to Holly Hill Leisure Centre
This ‘integration swing’ complements the existing range of inclusive equipment at Holly Hill play area such as a roundabout, sensory play panels and a basket swing for children as well as an accessible picnic table. It allows the operator to use the suspended rope and pulley to swing themselves or have someone else push them to create the motion.
Alexandra Bufton, whose daughter Doris is a wheelchair user, said: “This is so exciting to have a wheelchair swing at our favourite park! My daughter is very sensory, and she loves movement. A swing is one of her favourite activities but due to her disabilities it is difficult to lift her from wheelchair to swing.
“I am personally so grateful to Fareham Borough Council for ensuring that disabled children have the same opportunities as other children. This will change the lives of so many wheelchair users of all ages. Holly Hill play area is the perfect setting as it caters for children of all ages and, personally, I love being able to grab a coffee!”
The swing is specifically for the use of those in wheelchairs and will be locked to ensure that it is kept safe. Those wishing to use the swing can access it using a RADAR key, which can be requested from the Council by calling 01329 236100 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
A key will also be available all day, every day from the Holly Hill Leisure Centre reception desk. The leisure centre also features equipment for all ages and abilities, accessible parking, and a fully accessible Changing Place facility.
I would like to thank Alexandra Bufton and of course Doris as well as Kirstie from The Disability Union as without their inspiration and positive support this, the first of the Borough’s wheelchair swings, would not have happened. I am pleased that they are going to work with us to identify opportunities at other play areas across the Borough for such equipment.
Letter to your council
Dear, Bedford Borough Council/Central Bedfordshire Council/Luton Borough Council
It has come to my attention that a park in Southampton has installed disability compliant play equipment which allows children with disabilities to experience play the same way children without disabilities do.
I have heard that there are also 2 parks in Bedfordshire, Biggleswade and Leighton Buzzard in Central Bedfordshire that all have disability compliant play equipment. This is excellent news for people living in those areas but hardly inclusive or indeed environmentally sustainable if parents have to travel many miles to give their children this experience.
I would like to see this type of equipment installed in as many of the parks in the local authority as possible because at the current time those with disabilities are excluded from playing with or alongside their peers in this type of setting
I look forward to your response and hope to see this type of equipment installed in parks as soon as possible.
Philippa Fleming, Address supplied
A message from Kerrie Rennie Chair person Bedford Borough Parent Carer Forum
Hiya Hope you are well. I am chair of Bedford Borough parent Carer forum. We are working with Bedford Council on a inclusive park and have signage up in parks around Bedford after our feedback from our membership. We have also been co producing the sensory Garden. Our membership have been asked about designs and equipment. Kind regards Kerri
Friday 2 September 2022 – The inclusive park has now been built – Cllr Lucy Bywater posted the progress on her facebook page please follow the link to find out more – https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FLucyBywaterCastle%2Fposts%2Fpfbid07pMG1YwuVmMfY7Q44uqaDh9jUE3Nek34eYAyJex89ZRuqvRpZmDP9qFcuTa1iuiAl&show_text=true&width=500
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