Equal Play For All Children

Equal Play_ image credit_GL Jones Playgrounds and Exeter Mencap

The playground is an essential part of a child’s development and should be accessible to all children. Unfortunately, children with special needs are currently unable to enjoy most of Dublin’s playgrounds, due to a lack of suitable equipment.

Aiming to reverse this inequality is a group of transition year students from Alexandra College in Milltown. They’ve undertaken a project titled Paraplay, as part of the Young Social Innovators Programme, with the aim of raising funds to install a roundabout, accessible to children with physical disabilities, in a Dublin playground, to be identified at a later date.

Bernie Byrne, of Home Instead who are sponsoring the project says “Playground equipment suitable for disabled children is almost non-existent in public playgrounds and the girls hope that this initiative will not only provide equipment but also highlight the lack of facilities for disabled children.”

The initiative is welcomed by Enable Ireland, which provides free services to children and adults with disabilities. Theresa Compagno, a director of Enable Ireland, tells NewsFour; “Any such amenity is to be welcomed as these facilities are additional recreational facilities for children that enhance leisure, physical and mental development. All playgrounds should have adapted elements in their design which enable both able-bodied children and those with disabilities to play alongside one another. This is in line with our practice of promoting inclusion for all children, whether at home, at school or in the playground.”

Barbara Ennis, principal of Alexandra College, tells NewsFour her students hope to raise a sum in the region of €20,000. Depending on the amount raised, one or more pieces of play equipment will be purchased and installed.

To highlight their cause, the students took part in the Flora Women’s Mini Marathon in June, wearing their specially designed Paraplay t-shirts.
Anyone interested in making a donation to Paraplay, or providing other assistance, should contact Barbara Ennis at barbaraennis@alexandracollege.ie

Photo, above, provided by GL Jones Playgrounds and Exeter Mencap.

By Eric Hillis