Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

Council / Funding set to be used to create inclusive play parks

The Gulberwick playpark. Photo: SIC

A NUMBER of play parks in Shetland could be developed into “inclusive” playgrounds which would be accessible to all, including children with limited mobility.

Local charity Ability Shetland would be involved in the process in consultation with families and children.

Councillors will be asked next week to approve a business justification case for the renewal of play parks across Shetland over the coming five years.

The renewal programme comes after the Scottish Government pledged extra funding for upgrading play parks across the country.

A total of £60 million will be spent over the next five years, and an initial sum of £5 million was allocated in 2020/21.

In the first year Shetland Islands Council is to receive a capital grant of £28,000.

While the amount for future years has not been confirmed, council officials expect this may end up being around £308,000 in total.

Under current definitions the council manages 84 play parks across the isles, in both school and community settings.

Making playparks more inclusive is a key component of the government funding.

While Shetland has a relatively high standard of playparks, a report to councillors says there are numerous ones locally where “users with limited mobility cannot easily access the play park and in many areas a limited choice of inclusive play equipment that can be accessed by all”.

If a play park is upgraded to an inclusive one, special equipment would be brought in, while other features may include “extra seating, suitable surfaces for wheel chairs, planting, improved access points and circulation routes”.

It is anticipated that the funding will allow inclusive play parks to be provided in the South Mainland, Lerwick, Central Mainland, West Mainland, North Mainland, Yell, Unst and Whalsay.

“This would ensure that there is a reasonable spread of facilities across Shetland to ensure that no children or families had to travel too far to access an inclusive play park,” the report added.

Councillors will be asked to approve the project when they meet Monday and Tuesday next week.