Official Opening of Adventure Castle Play Area and Changing Place Facility

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Children from Southview School, Witham, with their teachers at the opening of the Adventure Castle Play Area and Changing Place facility

Councillors from Chelmsford City Council, Essex County Council and the Mayor were joined by children from local special schools to celebrate the official opening of the Adventure Castle Play Area (Phase Two) and the Changing Place facility at Hylands Park. The Adventure Castle Play Area is an all-inclusive play environment which can be used by able-bodied and disabled children alike and includes a wheelchair accessible suspension bridge, carved features and a sense of risk and adventure for disabled young people.

The first phase of the play equipment was installed three years ago. It aimed to provide an imaginative play experience and incorporated play items that were sensory and inclusive, such as a cradle swing and acoustic roller.

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Children from Southview School, Witham, with their teachers at the opening of the Adventure Castle Play Area and Changing Place facility

From the experience of working with Columbus School and College, who provide holistic care, therapy and learning packages for disabled children and young adults, a need was identified for an inclusive section of castle wall that allowed full access by wheelchair and would include more sensory items of play equipment. The concept for this new section of the castle was developed following workshops with Columbus School and College. They helped to select the right sensory kit and influence the overall design, including being involved in calculating measurements to allow a wheelchair user and able-bodied child or carer to play side by side. The play area is a one of a kind playground in this region and has been designed to be all inclusive.

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Councillor Norman Hume, Vice Chairman of Essex County Council, (left) and the Mayor of Chelmsford, Cllr Trevor Miller, (right) opening the Adventure Castle Play Area and Changing Place facility

The new phase has only been made possible by Chelmsford City Council working in partnership with Essex County Council’s Funding for Short Breaks for Disabled Children (AHDC – formerly known as Aiming High). They have also grant funded the new Changing Place facility, enabling young people with disabilities and their families to visit and enjoy Hylands Park. There are only 31 Changing Places facilities in the whole of the East of England region, with only 11 in Essex. As the Changing Places website states; “Providing these toilets in public places would make a dramatic difference to the lives of thousands of people who desperately need these facilities.”

Councillor Norman Hume, Vice Chairman of Essex County Council, said: “We are delighted to have worked in partnership with Chelmsford Borough Council to provide these excellent new facilities. I am sure that they will be enjoyed by both able-bodied and disabled children for many years to come.”

Posted by Amy Moylan

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One thought on “Official Opening of Adventure Castle Play Area and Changing Place Facility

  1. Visited Hylands Park adventure play area today and experienced a lovely time, the new area for the younger children is brilliant! A few points i would like to make in regards to any future improvements would be more picnic benches/seating areas within the adventure play area, as i for one am heavily pregnant and was not able to sit anywhere in direct view of seeing my little one play for safety resons therefore i was subjected to sitting on the bark floor. Overall our visit was a very pleasant experience.

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