THERE has been overwhelming public support for the development of a new inclusive play area in Limavady, with 96 percent of those surveyed in favour of a children's play park.
Three main potential locations for the play park have been identified following a consultation period, undertaken by PlayBoard NI.
The main sites identified are; the rear of Limavady Leisure Centre (41 percent), the existing Roe Mill Road Site (21 percent), and a site at the Roe Valley Country Park (38 percent).
Additional potential sites suggested by respondents to the survey were the Gorteen House Hotel site, Alexander Road/Blackburn Path, Edenmore Road, Dungiven Road (near to Integrated School), and The Old Market Yard site.
The Play Strategy outlined key recommendations for Limavady to be undertaken within a five year period; the development of Inclusive Play Area within Limavady area, the renewal of Play Areas located at Alexander Road/Blackburn Path, and review the level of demand for play area at Roe Mill Road to guide future renewal or removal.
PlayBoard NI identified key reasons why a new inclusive play park in Limavady is important.
They found that current play provision in the area is wholly inadequate for children with disabilities, and that the Diversity Park at Flowerfields, in Portstewart, is the only provision in the Borough Council.
It was found that travel distance and time to Flowerfields restricts opportunities to visit the diversity park.
It was agreed that all children have a right to play – and that right is currently not being met in the Limavady area.
A new inclusive play area will encourage children with and without disabilities to play together developing respect for difference, and would be an excellent resource for local residents, and would also attract visitors to the area from further afield.
Community Engagement Session
PlayBoard NI, on behalf of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council conducted an online consultation and a number of children’s engagement sessions regarding the potential development of the inclusive play area in Limavady.
A community engagement session took place in January, at the Roe Valley Arts and Cultural Centre,
where PlayBoard NI provided an overview of the key findings of the online consultation and children’s engagement sessions.
PlayBoard is an independent Belfast based charity, and the lead organisation for the development and promotion of children and young people’s play in Northern Ireland.
Play supports children to move through each stage of their development naturally, allowing them to make friends, come to terms with difficulties, follow their instincts, think and learn from others.
The charity outlines the importance of play for children's development;
“Children can play on their own, together with other children or with adults who support them. Loving and caring adults can help children to develop through play.
“For adults, playing with children helps them to understand the child’s point of view.
“It builds respect between adults and children and helps them communicate better.
“Children benefit from joining in playful activities with adults, however if there is too much adult control children do not benefit as much.”