Community Pulls Together to Create Inclusive Musical Playground, Blenheim, New Zealand

After a huge fundraising effort and the generosity of local community groups and residents, a brand new and inclusive musical playground was officially opened by the local Mayor earlier this month.

Pollard Park is located in sunny Blenheim, a small city nestled in the district of Marlborough at the top of the South Island of New Zealand,

In a first for New Zealand, the new playground features two 'acorn style' climbing playground pieces, slides, liberty swing, carousel and outdoor musical instruments from Percussion Play including Rainbow Sambas drums, Tubular Bells and Duo Cupla xylophone.

“A big thanks goes to the group supporting the Differently Abled Children of Marlborough. This group has helped the Council to understand the needs of their children and they have also raised more than $42,000 to contribute to the cost of this equipment,” Mayor Leggett said.

The Differently Abled Children of Marlborough Trust was established by parents of children who have disabilities, who are committed to supporting local differently abled children be able to play in local parks and playgrounds. Aware that there were no fully inclusive playgrounds in Marlborough, and frustrated at having to watch their children miss out on valuable play opportunities, the group submitted plans to the council and began a huge fundraising effort. They planned to contribute towards the cost of upgrading the existing playground at Pollard Park with wheelchair accessible equipment that allows all children to play together and with their families.

Alana Sagar part of the Differently Abled Children of Marlborough group said "We are just bowled over by the generous community. We reached our goal much earlier than expected and were so fortunate to receive grants from some amazing community groups as well".

One of these community groups was Blenheim Rotary Club who were delighted to donate the Rainbow Sambas to the project.

Local music therapist Anna Moore was overjoyed to hear musical instruments were part of the playground plan at Pollard Park. “I have wanted this to happen for a while," she said. “I think it's fantastic, kids are able to play and learn a different way to communicate with each other and explore music. I think what they've got there is great, because you've got some melodic instruments, percussive drums and there's plenty of room to move around with the chimes".

The Percussion Play instruments were provided through Playground People Ltd. "Playground People have been wonderful to deal with. Thank you for the fabulous instruments!" says Alana.

"I feel it is so important for able bodied children and children with extra needs to mix together. Connecting with children of different backgrounds and abilities encourages empathy as well as social and emotional skills" Alana added. "We wish to acknowledge and thank all those involved with helping make this dream come true. To see this inclusive park with so many children playing alongside each other is magical. Marlborough community, our precious differently abled children and families are eternally grateful.