‘Inclusiveness’ has become a word that is used with more frequency than ever, but what does it really mean? More importantly, what does it resolve? Isolation, a feeling of being excluded, loneliness.
These feelings can be difficult for adults to experience, but for young children they can have a devastating impact. Which is exactly what motivating a team of local volunteers in Strandhill, Sligo to create a fun space where all kids could enjoy themselves without feeling isolated or left out because of their physical differences.
The Strandhill Community Park, part-funded by National Lottery Good Causes as well as an amazing local fundraising initiative – Strandhill’s Fittest Family, is a community playground where children of all abilities can come to play together and enjoy a playground the way all kids should.
The parents of Strandhill were tired of seeing children with reduced mobility being pushed around in their wheelchairs while their siblings enjoyed the playground facilities, and they didn’t like how it was differentiating kids from an early age. So, they worked their socks off to raise money for a Playground for everyone, including sensory walls, a wheelchair-accessible roundabout, a disability swing seat, and even quiet spaces for kids who need a break from the chaos around them.
Just as importantly, it’s helping Strandhill’s kids see the value and importance of inclusion, and how everybody should be treated equally. When children of mixed abilities play together it greatly reduces stigma and educates able-bodied children on disability is a hugely positive, natural way. And of course, it means that no child in Strandhill needs to ever feel excluded from having fun with their peers again.
Strandhill Community Park really epitomises the great things that local communities can do when they feel so strongly about something, and the National Lottery Good Causes are so proud to have been involved with them.