Becky is a mum to 3 boys and her youngest son has Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy and is Registered Blind. Benjamin is unable to sit unaided, crawl, stand or walk or see the world around him. However, despite his difficulties and diagnosis he is a little boy who loves to interact, who loves to be swung high and go down fast slides, and more importantly he deserves and has a right to access play parks just like his brothers and friends.
Unfortunately, Becky will now avoid taking her children to the park as very rarely can she find a park which is accessible and inclusive for her son. This is the reality for many families and children. So many children and families are isolated from joining in at play parks because parks are not inclusive by design. Play is such a significant part of a child’s upbringing and is the focus of the EYFS curriculum; yet so many families feel isolated and so many children are denied the opportunity to join in with their family and friends at play parks.
Becky has been campaigning for the guidelines to change so that parks are inclusive by design. She has been instrumental in gaining the backing of the Government to support her Accessible Parks Campaign and the campaign was included in the Government’s National Disability Strategy. Becky has had many discussions with members of Parliament and has worked with numerous council’s and housing developers to help educate them on the need for accessible and inclusive play equipment.
However, change cannot happen overnight, and unless those responsible for designing play parks are supported, this process is going to be a very lengthy one and many children and families will continue to feel isolated. PiPA will be instrumental in ensuring that significant change can happen more quickly by raising awareness and supporting stakeholders in designing and installing inclusive and accessible play parks.
By creating inclusive and accessible play parks we can create an environment where children can play and grow together, we can improve mental health and break down social barriers.