Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA) was delighted to be joined by Minister of State at the Office of Public Works, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran T.D and Major of Athlone, Aengus O’Rourke for the official opening of a new accessible playground located on the grounds of Athlone Regional Sports Centre. The new accessible playground is the culmination of hard work, determination and fundraising, and the result of many local businesses joining forces to ensure children with physical disabilities have the opportunity to play alongside their peers and siblings
The new playground features a Double Wheelchair Swing and Ability Roundabout. The Ability Roundabout can be used by both able-bodied children and children with physical disabilities to facilitate social inclusion for all families visiting the playground. The accessible equipment was supplied and erected by Ballina Engineering and the funding of the playground was supported by local businesses including; IPB Insurances, Medtronic, Marks & Spencer Athlone, Teleflex and Brennan’s Tarmacadam Ltd.
Junior members of IWA’s Sunshine Club celebrated the opening of the playground, which took place on Saturday, 24th June. Speaking at the event Minister Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran said:
Congratulations to Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA) Athlone for their fundraising efforts over the past number of months to ensure the installation of this new wheelchair equipment. There is a huge benefit to having a double accessible swing and ability roundabout installed here in our local playground and it is a long term investment which allows for the inclusion of all family members to take part in a community playground setting
IWA in partnership with Athlone Regional Sports Centre identified the need for inclusive amenities for children with disabilities, and I would like to thank the staff at the Athlone Regional Sports Centre for embracing the project. This project is a great example of how our local community can work together to ensure equality and accessibility for all. Every child has a right to have fun and enjoy a day out in the playground.
IWA, in particular members of the Sunshine Club were excited to see the introduction of the accessible equipment which can be enjoyed over the summer months and for years to come. Local Athlone woman, Maureen Lee advocated for the inclusion of the accessible playground equipment and led the project to ensure that children with disabilities have the same opportunities as others their own age, to laugh and play at a local facility.
Maureen Lee, IWA Programme Assistant was joined by her niece Shauna, who is a member of IWA’s Sunshine Club at the event and explained:
I am thrilled to see the inclusion of an accessible playground located in Athlone Sports Centre and would like to thank all those who supported my colleagues and I to see this project to fruition. Today is a very special day for families with children who have disabilities, who are now able to enjoy this fabulous local amenity also.