Inclusion: The Heart of the Playscape Project
Taking a lead from the Village children (who insist on using the skateramp as one mighty challenge to run up and down!) the playscape scheme seeks to provide a landscape for everyone to enjoy and to interpret in their own way.
Inclusion is a driving principle for us. Vaila, one of our trustees, knows just how important this is as her 6 year-old daughter Eilidh has developmental disabilities and is a wheelchair user. You might think Vaila would be requesting lots of wheelchair equipment, but actually she’s far more passionate about inclusive design that both her 6 year old and 3 year old can enjoy. Sadly there’s nothing that Eilidh can use in the park right now without being lifted and carried, even the sandpit, which she loves, means being lifted down a big step.
“In the playscape proposals, there are lots of elements Eilidh will be able to access, including the trampolines, the wide slide, the sand pit and she’ll love being able to scramble around over the grassy mounds!” explains Vaila.
And good inclusive design really does mean something for everyone:
“A low hammock-style swing is a great example of an inclusive design. Eilidh can do an assisted standing transfer from her wheelchair, no lifting necessary, and this same swing can be used by a gaggle of toddlers, some rough-housing 7 year olds and a civilised chat between teenage friends, not to mention the opportunity for us grown ups to have a more sedate, meditative, swing gazing up at the clouds!”
So although we will be seeing new equipment on the rec we’re taking a much more holistic approach that will benefit everyone. This approach of course takes time as the design is bespoke and requires longer consultations and of course planning permission. However, the Architects are now working on the detailed design of the top play area and we are looking forward to applying for planning permission soon.
Going down the Architecture route has opened up areas (literally!) that we couldn’t have conceived of on our own. It’s provoked a re-think of “who plays where” (A: everyone is welcome everywhere!) but also inspired better access with a new pedestrian entrance and some extended parking which we are delighted the Parish Council has pledged to pay for.
Further reading: www.designcouncil.org.uk/resources/guide/principles-inclusive-design
COPSE PROJECT UPDATE – NB rescheduled dates
4th March: SSYI to start on the Willow Den
18th March, 10am – 4pm: Planting shrubs & wildflowers, volunteers welcome! Contact Eleanor