Challengers builds new accessible playground

March 1, 2023| Past Issues, Editorial

Guildford pre-school children enjoying watching the diggers at the playground site.

Work has started on a new, state-of-the-art inclusive playground at the Guildford play-centre of charity Challengers.

The specially designed playground in Stoke Park will have a huge impact on the lives of thousands of disabled children who are often unable to use typical playgrounds in their own communities.

Challengers has provided more than 40 years of fun and accessible play for children of all ages and continues to champion play for disabled children.

The charity raised £300,000 to build the playground through a fundraising campaign called the Big Play Appeal. The playground’s design, inspired by the Surrey Hills, will be a multi-functional space with specialist equipment aimed at facilitating fun and adventure for disabled children.

Inclusive and accessible, the equipment is exciting and varied, providing the opportunity for climbing, sliding, swinging and creative play.

Most importantly, the playground will mean disabled children will be able to play with their non-disabled peers in a safe, accessible space where they can have fun and make friends.

Challengers is especially excited and proud that the new playground will see the first installation in the UK of a We-Go-Swing, which represents a revolutionary step forward in inclusive play. The swing, allows wheelchair and non-wheelchair users to play together. Unlike many accessible swings that are segregated from main play areas, this swing is designed to be fully integrated into the playground setting.

According to research from the disability equality charity Scope “half of families with disabled children in the UK face accessibility problems with their local playground”.

Guildford playground plans. To donate scan the QR code in the right hand corner.

The 2022 Challengers parent survey indicated only 6% of Surrey families felt there was enough access to safe and accessible play in Guildford. Challengers wants to change that.

British Paralympian and Challengers Patron Rachel Morris MBE said: “I’m delighted to see that Challengers are building a new, accessible playground with top-of-the-range equipment for disabled children to enjoy in Surrey.

“This will make such a difference to disabled children’s lives and will help to break down the barriers to play they are faced with daily.”

“This will make such a difference to disabled children’s lives and will help to break down the barriers to play they are faced with daily.”

Parents whose children attend Challengers are also really excited about the new playground and the difference it will make to their children’s lives.

One Challengers parent supporter said: “Children with disabilities deserve opportunities to access play. This is currently something we lack in Surrey.

“This playground will allow children to play in a safe and secure area. Parents will feel comfortable and safe when allowing their children to play in this new playground, this is often something they can’t feel in other playgrounds in Surrey.”

The playground is due to open in early Spring 2023 and the charity will be show-casing it with a special launch event.

The playground in development.

CEO Gen Dearman with some of the play-ground builders on day one of the build.