A year after The Link front page featured the needs of children with disabilities at Lydiard Park, a campaigner for people with disabilities is calling on Swindon Council to speed up the provision of equipment for special needs children.
Rachel Reid from The Prinnels, who is a children’s disability specialist in a neighbouring council, said she wanted parents to know that pressure is being applied to the council on their behalf, even though there is an apparent lack of activity. “We spoke at the West Swindon Forum and also the council’s cabinet in 2007 and explained more needed to be done to make the fantastic play area at Lydiard Park more inclusive.
The council did put in some specialist sensory equipment, but they didn’t talk to us about it.
“It’s the little things that could have been easily sorted out. Two activity boards are located across a bark surface which is difficult to push a wheelchair on and two are close to the footpath which means that a wheelchair would block it, especially if another parent tries to go by with a buggy.
“The swinging tyre can be used by able bodied and children with disabilities. Again it’s difficult to get to it over the bark.
“Not every piece of equipment has to be accessible; I’m just asking for a balance and more liaison with the users, the people affected by disability every day.
Rachel is now working with the new manager of Lydiard Park and the council’s head of culture to resolve the problem. She has taken council staff to see a wheelchair accessible roundabout installed in east Swindon and is discussing its suitability for Lydiard.
“It’s sad when you see a child in a wheelchair watching others running around and enjoying the equipment,” said Rachel. “I know these things take time to organise, but disabled children have missed out on two summers.”
Rachel Reid with a sound wheel located too close to the footpath within the giant Lydiard Park play area