Let's Play Fair
We welcome this guest blog post from Lorna Fillingham, on behalf of our friends at the disability charity, Scope.
On warm summer days, I sit and listen to children racing up and down the path that leads to our local park. It's just across the road, but it's not a park for us, it has nothing that my disabled daughter can play on. If we go to the park, it’s because I’ve bundled my children into the car and taken them to a park which is a 20 minute drive away.
This park has a wheelchair-accessible roundabout. That means it’s flush to the ground, and has enough space for a wheelchair user. My daughter can sit and be included in the play of others, including her younger brother.
She loves the feel of the wind in her hair as the roundabout circles round, and it puts a huge smile on her face.
She's small enough still that I can lift her into the crow's nest swing (a swing shaped a bit like a bird's nest or flattened basket) but she’s too big for her friends or brother to lift her.
She is 13 years old; her world should be expanding. Instead, as she gets older her options, and world, are shrinking. She should be able to play at our local park, instead most kids in our neighbourhood don't know that she even exists. We know that even when we visit brand-new parks that our daughter is often not catered for.
I have become a campaigner for inclusive playgrounds. I’ve met council leaders and my local MP to ask them to make local playparks more inclusive as they are built or renovated, which is a reasonable adjustment under the Equality Act (2010). I’ve also partnered with Scope to shape their campaign for inclusive playgrounds – Let’s Play Fair.
Scope’s Let's Play Fair campaign says that every child has the right to play, and deserves to play. Every child needs to feel that they are included. Society can do so much better than this.
Please take part in Scope’s Play Investigation survey. It’s a fun and easy way to discover how inclusive and accessible your local playground is for disabled children. We’re asking people (especially disabled people and fellow parent/carers of disabled children) to answer a few short, simple questions at a local playground using Scope’s online survey to investigate accessibility there. It’s been developed with parents of disabled children.
People are taking part in the Play Investigation all over the country. Together we’re building a picture of which local playgrounds are great for disabled children, and which need to be better.
Scope will be using the information gathered through The Play Investigation to take it to local and national governments, to highlight why change is needed and call for more inclusive playgrounds.
To take part, go to Scope’s Play Investigation and tell them about your playground. You’ll be helping to make a vital change for families like mine.