The Parish Council hosted a successful grand opening event for the new, inclusive Luna Close Play Park. Young carers from Oakhurst Community Primary School, Rebecca and Benjamin from local charity Benjamin’s Smile, Councillors Richard Hailstone, Steve Heyes and John Jackson and Council staff celebrated the opening in festive style with bubbles, doughnuts and balloons.
The Parish Council has allocated £80,000 in the current financial year for the refurbishment and enhancement of two local play areas; Luna Close in Oakhurst and Gaynor Close in Abbey Meads. The Council is committed to maintaining all of their 23 play parks to a high standard and sets aside a significant portion of their budget each year to do so.
The Parish Council worked closely with Benjamin’s Smile Charity and Oakhurst Community Primary School who came up with a wish list of items they would like to see.
Karen Taylor (Pastoral support and Young Carers Lead at Oakhurst Community Primary School) said
“The Young Carers in our school have put so much into raising money towards the inclusive play park. They have run the ‘O Factor’ talent show, a non-uniform day and various other events and presentations to raise money and awareness. This is exactly what has happened, the awareness and appreciation in our school for inclusion is at an all-time high.
Luna Close Play Area looks fantastic, you would think it has always been this way. It is great that now all the children can now have fun together!”
Luna Close is now home new, exciting and accessible equipment, and is tailored to the varying requirements of their children with the inclusion of a high back swing, double width slide, accessible roundabout, and numerous play panels.
Rebecca from Benjamin’s Smile had this to say about the overall project:
“I am so happy with how Luna Close Play Area looks and can’t believe that already this is happening to two other play parks in the area. It is an amazing achievement and has happened so quickly.
This project has had such an impact on so many people. The community now have a play park that all children can use. The accessible equipment means that children with disabilities can play but also can be used by all ages and abilities.
The children from our school have become so aware of inclusion in general, I often have children approach me and tell me they have visited somewhere where they have seen other accessible equipment. The children from our school (especially our Young Carers who helped fundraise) are extremely proud of what they have achieved and are grateful they can now play all together. I think this is the key point, this play area is completely inclusive now!
I first began this appeal as it became impossible to bring my children to the park. Benjamin’s siblings wanted to play but equally wanted to play with their brother and to see Benjamin getting upset as he wasn’t able to join in made it a heart-breaking outing.
Fast forward to today, Benjamin’s brothers can now push him on the roundabout, the swings and watch him play with the sensory equipment. It really has/will change our lives and it certainly is showing ‘Benjamin’s infectious smile’.
I never expected the amount of support that has been shown towards inclusion in our area and at the speed it has been. However, Haydon Wick Parish Council have not only shown their support but more importantly they have acted upon it and that is why we are here, unveiling Luna Close Play Area today”.
The Council has recently awarded the next contract for resurfacing Voyager Drive Play Area in Oakhurst, North Swindon, before the end of the financial year. The awarded contract was for Vitaplay due to its innovative design, proven good workmanship (following last year’s resurfacing works at King George V Play Area) and its competitive costings. Further details on this project will be announced on the Council’s social media pages within the next few weeks.