Delight as Stranraer Inclusive Play Park Opens

Families in Stranraer gathered on Sunday (29 July 2018) to mark the opening of the eagerly awaited new inclusive play park at Stair Park. The weather didn’t damped the spirits of those that came along to celebrate the opening of the park and to take part in the ‘picnic in the park’.
The inclusive play park has been redeveloped with new, state of the art play equipment which has been especially selected to incorporate users of all abilities and create a safe, fun environment for all youngsters to enjoy together. Careful consideration has been taken to make sure the design proposals for Stair Park enjoyable and accessible for all.
The opening of the new, inclusive park is the result of the aspiration, vision, determination and hard work of The Wigtownshire Family Support Group who have been championing the idea of an inclusive play park for several years. The group supported by the Council progressed this vision to becoming a reality.

Last year the Communities Committee ringfenced half a million pounds to support inclusive play across Dumfries and Galloway. This commitment has been extended with a further 1 million pounds available for accessible public play areas for children over the next couple of years.

This great example of Community Engagement led to consultations with parents, children, support groups and support agencies. It was clear from the conversations and consultation that not only was inclusive play equipment important, accessible parking, pathways and toilets were also essential to ensure that the park was inclusive for all.

This resulted in an allocation of £125k to Stair Park for play equipment and identified the need for accessible parking, and a changing places toilet facility ensuring that no matter what disabilities a person may have they will be able to access the park. The Council supported the Group by allocating financial and physical resources to meet this need.

The toilets should be open for the public later this year and will be only the third of its kind in Dumfries and Galloway, with the others located in Kirroughtree and Dumfries.

The Family Support Group also carried out their own consultations on the types of equipment local young people and their families wanted. Working closely with the Council’s Community Assets Team and the play equipment provider Wickstead, this has resulted in this fantastic park, which will provide stimulating and challenging play for children and young people of any age. It is truly a public park as the very format itself has been driven by the very people who will use it.

The group have been working hard to raise awareness, funds and support through raffles, quizzes and collections and have been supported by their local ward officer to successfully apply for funding.

To mark the opening of the park, there were speeches from the Wigtownshire Family Support Group who have championed the inclusive playpark as well as Communities committee chairman, Andy Ferguson.

Speaking about the opening, Andy said “Sunday was really special for me. When Communities committee committed this funding over a year ago, we were determined to create playparks across our region that all children could go and enjoy and for all children to have fun in. Today, I have seen our ambition come to fruition. We have worked with organisations that represent children, young people, parents and carers who have a disability, taking account of what is important to them and creating a park that they want to come and spend time in and enjoy. Seeing the families on Sunday enjoy the new facilities made me immensely proud. This is the first inclusive playpark to be opened following our commitment to create parks across our region that all children can enjoy. I look forward to more inclusive playparks opening over the coming months.”

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