Ireland’s ‘most inclusive’ playground
South Beach Playground in Greystones, Co Wicklow, Ireland has been designed to ensure children of all ages and abilities can play side-by-side.
- South Beach Playground Committee
- Wicklow County Council
- Playground Designer: All Play Ireland
Following more than two years of fundraising, research and consultations by a dedicated Playground Committee, All Play Ireland have built a fantastic all-inclusive play facility to bring magic and fun to children of all ages and abilities.
The Greystones South Beach Playground is now open, and children have been making great use of the brand-new inclusive facility.
The Committee envisioned a playground that is inclusive for all children, where they can meet, play, interact and have fun. They wanted all children to have access to a playground that not only stimulates their imaginations and all their senses but also encourages self-learning and promotes emotional and physical wellbeing regardless of their abilities.
On January 29th, 2016 the idea of a new playground for Greystones was first mooted and the mighty South Beach Playground committee began fundraising the €250,000 required in earnest.
All Play Ireland was awarded the tender which specifically stated that the winning design “should include equipment that offers play opportunities to children with an array of additional needs. For example, children on the Autism Spectrum, children with mobility issues who require the use of wheelchair or other mobility aids, hearing and visually impairment children and children with motor coordination difficulties such as Developmental Coordination Disorder/Dyspraxia.”
The project team worked closely with professionals who were knowledgeable about different areas of child development and differing abilities. Surfacing, seating, socialisation opportunities, play equipment, everything was assessed for play value and accessibility.
As well as a contribution of €150,000 – over half the budget – from Wicklow County Council, donations were received from various community groups, a big Wall of Thanks, a Kindometer as well as a fairy-tale €70,000 donation from an anonymous donor.
For the committee behind this project the main aim of the €250,000, state-of-the-art playground was to make it all-inclusive. On the opening day the Irish Times billed South Beach Playground as one of Ireland’s most inclusive playgrounds. A very successful project was completed.
The playground design considers both physical and sensory disabilities as well as additional needs of children on the autism spectrum and those with motor coordination difficulties. Today the community has a playground that meets the needs of every child whilst playing side by side. The design of the equipment meant that the playground is not obviously a special needs playground, nothing is tucked away in a corner.
The musical area consists of a Papilio, Cavatina, Congas, Tubular Bells and Cajon. The instruments will allow everyone from children to adults to express themselves and communicate together through the magic of music. Other features include a cosy cocoon which can be a seat in a rocket ship, or a safe place where a child on the autism spectrum can rest their senses until they are ready to join their peers again. A sensory path was created with all different materials which allows children to walk or wheel along and feel different textures. there’s a swing that houses a wheelchair, a large-scale see-saw that has enough room to sit or lie on, sandpits, climbing frames, tube slides and zip lines.
Niamh Egan, chair of the parent’s group, stated parents in the South Beach committee had put their “hearts and souls into making the playground a special place for our community” and all that hard work has paid off.
Kasha Huse - I’m a mother of 3 fantastic children. The music area was so calming, and all the children were being creative and getting involved. For once, we all as a family, enjoyed a trip to the playground and have been there many times since.
Karen Cowen - I loved watching a parent make music too yesterday while his kids played
All Play Ireland work closely with councils, schools, special needs units and community groups throughout Ireland and the UK and are passionate about creating the best possible play experience for all who use their playgrounds. They have a focused approach which ensures that age-appropriate play needs are catered for, that the proposed play area is innovative, physically challenging, educational and mentally stimulating.
Click to find out more about All Play Ireland.
Find out more about South Beach Playground