Swings and roundabouts

From behind the camera my smile mirrors Quinns’. This was the very first time Quinns and Big Sister played together on the new accessible roundabout in our local park. 

Quinns and Big Sister enjoying the new accessible roundabout in our local park.

Back in October 2018 I posted a blog called Park life. I described my sadness at the lack of accessible play equipment and my dream of accessible roundabouts in every play park. 

Once the sadness of that day lifted the rage came. I realised Quinns would have very little chance of experiencing standard play equipment during his childhood. Only by travelling to play parks miles away would Quinns have the opportunity to play unless I took action. There was no time to waste.

Our local park was the best place to start. I got the Community Council on board with the idea first then we approached the Council. Anyone I spoke to about the idea of accessible play equipment was totally on board but there was no funding. Once the local community was involved the fundraising campaign absolutely rocketed and we soon made enough for a roundabout.

But it couldn’t stop there. One accessible roundabout doesn’t make an accessible playpark. As a family we sought out play parks to visit for research and awareness raising. By sharing the joy of Quinns’ and Big Sister’s park experiences we got everyone hooked on the story. There was no reason other than a lack of play equipment stopping Quinns having fun. We joined friends and had wonderful days out.

Five year old Quinns smiling while being pushed in a high backed swing by his ten year old big sister.
Quinns loving being pushed by Big Sister in the new high backed swing in our local park.

It all took an enormous amount of energy from us and from the many many others who helped us. We would hear about parks that had recently been renovated and make a point of visiting. It was frustrating to find that even although work had just been carried out in these parks there was still no equipment for Quinns to play on.

I often question why we had to go to so much effort to make it happen for our park while companies were spending money on inaccessible equipment for other parks. Although we had a lot of fun along the way it shouldn’t have been so much hard work to realise Quinns’ right to play.

After “The Big Push”, our final community fundraising event, we had raised enough for an accessible roundabout, high backed swing, tables and perhaps most importantly paths. Pathways would not only benefit wheelchairs users but so many others. The most common complaint about our park was the difficulties people had pushing children around it in buggies. 

Most of the work on our play park has recently been completed and it is amazing!! I confess I smiled so much on our first visit I forgot to take Quinns off the roundabout until he was pale with dizziness! There is so much joy to be had in our local park now that we can pop past for a quick spin anytime!

The biggest thank you to everyone near and far who supported, contributed and helped make this dream a reality for us and many others in our local area. We couldn’t have done it without you.