The Crann Centre has launched a €500,000 fundraising campaign to build an inclusive playground and leisure area for families with disabilities, set to be the first of its kind in Ireland.

Designed by families for families, the urgent need for this fully accessible amenity is supported by University College Cork research, run in partnership with Crann, a charity that provides supports for those living with neuro-physical disabilities. Of the 200 service users of Crann and their families who took part in the study, 75% found accessibility and lack of suitable activities the main barriers in using public playgrounds.

Crann’s Chief Executive, Padraig Mallon stated: “Play is essential to development and wellbeing, as it helps children build social skills, independence and emotional resilience. Three in five of those who use Crann said that the opportunity to engage in risky play — like in a playground environment — helped with development. However, because of the lack of accessible facilities, children living with disabilities are missing out. Adults with disabilities too have little access to inclusive spaces for relaxation. That is why we have committed to building this playground and leisure area this year. It will cost €500,000, and we are delighted to have half the funds pledged already. However, raising the remainder will be a challenge and we are asking the public and businesses to support the building of this life-changing amenity, by donating or”

Designed to ensure families living with a disability can play and socialise together, the multi-generational quarter-acre space at the Crann Centre in Ovens, Cork is accessible for wheelchair users of all ages. It will include a giant pirate ship, swings, slides, ramps, and climbing walls. There will also be a sensory garden, basketball court, accessible tabletop games, picnic benches, and a barbecue area. Building has commenced and is expected to be completed by November.

Speaking at the Crann Centre, An Taoiseach Micheál Martin said: “Every child has the right to engage in play and recreational activities, no child should be excluded from playing due to a disability. This trailblazing project by the Crann Centre, which included the input of families in its design, will provide a unique place where families can play together, with equipment chosen to maximise inclusion.  It will be a shining example of what can be achieved to allow families living with disabilities play, socialise, and grow in a safe and fun way.”



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