Eagle-eyed visitors to Kirrie Hill will have noticed two new pieces of play equipment installed at Neverland play park – an inclusive roundabout and a wheelchair-accessible swing that will enhance play provision for children and adults of all abilities.
The project to install the equipment came about following a chat between a local family and Councillor Julie Bell at the Peter Pan statue in Kirriemuir town square.
Cllr Bell explained: “Moira McColgan approached me to ask what I could do to help their son, Darren, who is in a wheelchair. I asked what he needed – and it was play equipment.
“I was then delighted to be able to work with Kirriemuir Regeneration Group and with our Angus Council Parks Team, who advised on the equipment itself and undertook to ensure it was installed for us. KRG and I worked together on funding applications, and we were absolutely thrilled that the Angus Health and Social Care Partnership North West Locality Improvement Groups committed to support our bids with funds.
“We were very clear that, as expensive as the swing and roundabout were, children of all ages and abilities have the right to enjoy play and have as much fun as anybody else. We are hugely grateful to everyone for pulling together so readily on this project – it’s been a joy.”
Moira McColgan, the mum who raised the idea, said: “We as a family are delighted to have the accessible swing and a roundabout that everyone can use at the Neverland Park.
“These pieces of play equipment mean that all the children in our family, along with friends, can easily play together. We’ve had some great play dates with our friends, who are also wheelchair users, here in our local park rather than travelling away to Arbroath or Perth. Having this in Kirriemuir means we can just pop up for a play if we are in getting shopping or go for longer playtimes.
“We’ve had the opportunity to speak to lots of lovely local people who are interested in why the swing was put in. Many of them didn’t realise or think that children in wheelchairs needed different play equipment but they are delighted to see the fun our children are having.
“We would like to thank Cllr Julie Bell for listening to our request, Kirriemuir Regeneration Group, the funders and Angus Council for making Kirriemuir’s Neverland play park a more inclusive place for everyone.”
On behalf of Kirriemuir Regeneration Group, Irena Krasinska-Lobban said: “Kirriemuir Regeneration Group (KRG) are delighted to have been able to provide this equipment with help from the Angus Health and Social Care Partnership Locality Improvement Fund and the Cooperative Community Fund. The equipment sits alongside our other projects as part of KRG’s commitment to making Kirrie’s public spaces inclusive for all.”
As well as the play equipment, inclusive picnic tables are also set to be installed shortly with funding from the Cooperative Community Fund, This, alongside a range of benches from KRG, will complete the initiative. Fiona Davidson, Service Leader, Angus Health and Social Care Partnership said: “This was a wonderful community-led initiative that we were delighted to support. Inclusion for children and adults is so important and we hope people of all ages, both local and visitors, have hours of fun here at Kirrie Hill.”