Plans to build a £500,000 playground, aimed at children and adults with disabilities, and the first of its kind in the UK, were given the green light at the Barnet North Area committee meeting on Tuesday 28 March.

The ‘Fair Play Barnet’ playground was designed with input from professional experts, parents and carers with a range of experience in different disabilities.

The design includes equipment that: rocks, swings, spins, involves sound, climbing and slides, touch and sitting and will be built in Victoria Recreation Ground in New Barnet, next to the existing playground.

Cllr Philip Cohen of East Barnet Ward, said:

“As a council we care for our people, our places and the planet and this pioneering project is another step in how we plan to keep on doing this.

“By creating this wonderful space, it gives residents of all abilities and disabilities the opportunity to play and have fun outdoors together with specially designed equipment.

“I would also like to give thanks to everyone who has made this possible, particularly the Seneca Trust and to everyone who helped input into the design to ensure it is a safe place for rewarding play.”

Deborah Gundle of the Seneca Trust, said:

“Fair Play playground will finally mean that siblings can play together, and learning and physically disabled people can access play alongside their peers.

“Inclusive play will reduce stigma through positive experiences which benefit all in this society where we know how important social integration and physical fitness is to all of us.”

Barnet Mencap CEO, Ray Booth, said:

“At Barnet Mencap, we know first-hand the challenges that children with learning disabilities can face when it comes to accessing playgrounds.

“That’s why we are delighted that this accessible playground, that caters to the needs of all children, is being created in Barnet.

“Playgrounds should provide a safe and inclusive space for children of all abilities to play and learn together, fostering physical, social, and emotional development.”

It will be funded by £400k from a group of independent funders spearheaded by The Seneca Trust and £100k from the council, which Cllr Cohen successfully applied for. Barnet council previously consulted on the playground and worked with a range of people who have or who care for people who have additional needs. The current timetable is that the new playground will be built in Autumn 2023.

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