Congratulations to Harlow Town Park in Essex for achieving a Gold PiPA accreditation. The PiPA assessment found the park to be easily accessible, whilst offering a wide variety of activities that stimulate all the senses. It also offers the opportunity to rest & recharge in the café, which has accessible toilets, or relax on benches in shaded areas!
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Inclusive Play are delighted to award Drumpellier Country Park play area with PiPA status, making this site the first Scottish play area to be awarded as a Destination PiPA.
“The Crannog” play area at Drumpellier Country Park was opened to the public in June 2017. The play area is themed around an iron-age “crannog”, a traditional dwelling house constructed on stilts over water. This bespoke inclusive structure was designed by Jupiter Play and produced by their partners at FHS. Funding for this project was provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund, CultureNL, WREN and North Lanarkshire Council.
The entire unit can accommodate wheelchair usage and the main entrance walkway, outer platforms and inner ’roundhouse’ are also fully accessible. Other key inclusive features are: AudioNetic sound makers, musical features, tactile carvings, pendulum swing with basket and low lying nets with mirrored ceiling. The key design consideration was to capture all aesthetic elements of a Crannog whilst including progressive play, sensory elements, risk and continued challenge for children at all levels of their development. No child is left behind as there is an access route for every ability; once a child feels some self-assurance, they can try out tougher routes. There are a wide variety of options to choose from in deciding how to access, move around and exit the play structure. The layout encourages children to practice making choices and exercise cognitive function experiencing the consequences of those choices in a safe and secure setting.
Joanne Talbot, Business Manager of Inclusive Play said, “it has been a great experience working in partnership with Culture NL and the Jupiter Play design team to create such a special location. As this is the first Destination PiPA site in Scotland it is really a testament to everyone’s hard work and dedication to achieving a fully inclusive play space. The Crannog at Drumpellier Park is the true meaning of inclusion.”
If you’d like to find out more information about PiPA or view other PiPA awarded play areas across the UK, click here to look at our PiPA Map.
For anyone who hasn’t heard of our PiPA toolkit, this may well change as we continue to campaign and champion for it at Scottish Parliamentary level.
We began discussing PiPA with Linda Fabiani MSP back in 2014 when a group of parents were frustrated by the lack of inclusive provision in their area. This is not an unusual scenario and Inclusive Play were highly aware that the understanding around disability and inclusivity was low with regards to the play environment. This led to the development of the PiPA (Plan Inclusive Play Areas) project with KIDS the Disabled Children’s Charity and Occupational Therapist Amy Wagenfield.
This working group created a toolkit to harness the expert knowledge of the team and the industry to help support anyone designing or wanting to campaign for inclusive play areas by providing qualitative and quantittaive evidence on how to shape better rounded play spaces.
Every local authority across the country manage and own a portfolio of community playgrounds, yet there is no structure in place that ensures a proportion of these are truly inclusive. In a bid to change this Inclusive Play has been working tirelessly with a number of great organisations and individuals to create PiPA (Plan Inclusive Play Areas) to make the process of designing inclusive play areas much easier.
General Manager, Kristina Hinks, met with Linda Fabiani MSP at Scottish Parliament to campaign for this to be a requirement of Local Authorities in Scotland. Linda Fabiani is backing a campaign led by families of disabled children for better inclusive play facilities in East Kilbride and has been a real supporter of the PiPA tool.
The next step is to take PiPA to the Children’s Minister and see how we can start to make change and inform new policy for better access to community facilities for children with disabilities and special needs. Watch this space!
Earley Town Council are close to completion of the UK’s very first designed from scratch PiPA Inclusive Playground at Sol Joel. The park is designed to be fully inclusive for all children and will engage youngsters with special needs and disabilities.
Earley Town Council, together with the support of Wokingham Borough Council, have been busy consulting with representatives of Reach Wokingham, Peapods and the Special Educational Needs Department at Earley St. Peter’s School (the School backs on to the Park).
It was increasingly apparent that the region is without a choice of free inclusive play area facilities, a fact that is backed up by KIDS the Disabled Children’s Charity who have found less than 47% of play spaces are accessible across the UK.
To remedy that Earley Town Council worked with the Inclusive Play’s PiPA (Plan Inclusive Play Areas) tool to create a fantastic multi-sensory project designed together with Jupiter Play and Inclusive Play.
The play area will be open in time for the school summer holidays 2015.