A Cork-based charity is hoping to raise €500,000 to build a new playground and leisure area for families with disabilities, in what would be the first venture of its kind in this country.
The Crann Centre, which provides lifelong support for families living with neuro-physical disabilities, said that of its 200 service users, three-quarters found accessibility and lack of suitable activities the main barriers in using public playgrounds.
The new playground and leisure facilities have been designed by families for families and is supported by University College Cork research and will be run in partnership with Crann.
The multi-generational quarter-acre space at the Crann Centre in Ovens is accessible for wheelchair users of all ages and when finished will include a giant pirate ship, swings, slides, ramps, and climbing walls.
There will also be a sensory garden, basketball court, accessible tabletop games, picnic benches, and a barbecue area.
Building has already commenced and is expected to be completed by November.
Crann’s chief executive, Padraig Mallon, said play was essential for all children and the opportunity for risky play can aid development, adding that adults with disabilities also needed access to inclusive spaces for relaxation.
"That is why we have committed to building this playground and leisure area this year," he said.
"However, raising the remainder will be a challenge and we are asking the public and businesses to support the building of this life-changing amenity, by donating at cranncentre.ie or ie.gofundme.com/f/cranns-accessible-playground.”
Taoiseach Micheál Martin said: “Every child has the right to engage in play and recreational activities, no child should be excluded from playing due to a disability. This trailblazing project by the Crann Centre, which included the input of families in its design, will provide a unique place where families can play together, with equipment chosen to maximise inclusion. It will be a shining example of what can be achieved to allow families living with disabilities play, socialise, and grow in a safe and fun way.”