Work has started on a new, state-of-the-art inclusive playground at our Guildford play centre on Stoke Park! This specially designed playground is set to have a huge impact on the lives of thousands of disabled children who are often unable to use typical playgrounds in their own communities.
After raising £300,000 to build the playground through the #BigPlayAppeal, the transformation started in mid-January, despite freezing temperatures! The playground’s design, inspired by the Surrey Hills, will be a multi-functional space with specialist equipment aimed at facilitating fun and adventure for disabled children.
Inclusive and accessible, the equipment is exciting and varied, providing the opportunity for climbing, sliding, swinging and creative play.
Most importantly, the playground will mean disabled children will be able to play with their non-disabled peers in a safe, accessible space where they can have fun and make friends.
We are extremely excited and proud that the new playground will see the first installation in the UK of a We-Go-Swing, which represents a revolutionary step forward in inclusive play. The swing allows wheelchair and non-wheelchair users to play together, and is designed to be fully integrated into the playground setting, unlike many accessible swings that are segregated from main play areas.
According to research from the disability equality charity Scope “half of families with disabled children in the UK face accessibility problems with their local playground”. Our own research from the 2022 Challengers Parent Survey indicated only 6% of Surrey families felt there was enough access to safe and accessible play in Guildford – so we immediately knew that we wanted to change that.
This playground will allow children to play in a safe and secure area. Parents will feel comfortable and safe when allowing their children to play in this new playground, this is often something they can’t feel in other playgrounds in Surrey.British Paralympian and Challengers Patron, Rachel Morris MBE
Parents whose children attend Challengers are also really excited about the new playground and the difference it will make to their children’s lives. One Challengers parent supporter said: “Children with disabilities deserve opportunities to access play. This is currently something we lack in Surrey. This playground will allow children to play in a safe and secure area. Parents will feel comfortable and safe when allowing their children to play in this new playground, this is often something they can’t feel in other playgrounds in Surrey.”