We want an inclusive playpark for all children

From left: Campbeltown Community Council chairman Alan Baker, mother-of-two Iona MacLean and Councillor Donald Kelly.
From left: Campbeltown Community Council chairman Alan Baker, mother-of-two Iona MacLean and Councillor Donald Kelly.

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A campaign has been launched to make a playground in the centre of Campbeltown inclusive and accessible for all children.

Mother-of-two Iona MacLean is behind the campaign to purchase a swing-set — with an adapted seat with straps on one side and a wheelchair accessible swing on the other — to be installed at Jock’s Adventure Playground near Campbeltown Ferry Terminal.

At the moment, the council-owned playpark, which is commonly referred to by locals as ‘Jock’s Boat’, only has one wheelchair accessible item — a roundabout — but it is seized, meaning children in wheelchairs cannot presently use any of the equipment.

Iona was inspired by her own experiences after taking her children, seven-year-old Esmie and four-year-old Lyle, who has autism, to playparks in Campbeltown and surrounding villages and noticing the lack of equipment for children with less ability.

‘Playparks should be inclusive for all and a place where all children can go and be children, and be included with their peers, regardless of their ability or disability,’ Iona said. ‘It’s often something people don’t think about until it’s their child, but all children deserve to be able to play.’

She has joined forces with South Kintyre councillor Donald Kelly and Campbeltown Community Council in a bid to raise the £25,000 required to purchase and install the equipment in a vacant area at the playpark.

From left: Campbeltown Community Council chairman Alan Baker, mother-of-two Iona MacLean and Councillor Donald Kelly.
From left: Campbeltown Community Council chairman Alan Baker, mother-of-two Iona MacLean and Councillor Donald Kelly.

Councillor Kelly told the Courier: ‘I am pleased to have managed to secure a pledge of £10,000 from an external funder which will go towards the cost of this project, however, this is dependent on the community being able to raise the balance for the equipment.

‘We would appreciate support from any individual or local business willing to donate to the cause. This play equipment will be a welcome addition to Jock’s Boat playpark and will allow it to be more inclusive and accessible to all children.’

Iona is launching an online fundraising page today (Friday), with the aim of raising the additional £15,000 through donations.

She said: ‘I am really passionate about raising the money for this equipment which, although inspired by my own son, will massively benefit many children who will have so much enjoyment from it. It is hugely vital for their development and inclusion with their family and their peers.

‘Not only will it benefit children locally, but also any visitors who may come to the area in the future. It will be a huge asset for the town.

‘The community spirit in Campbeltown is incredible and I am really hoping everyone will support this in any way they can.’

An Argyll and Bute Council spokesperson said: ‘Ideas like this show the amazing community spirit in Campbeltown and how community and council can work together for the good of the area.

‘We look forward to seeing proposals for equipment that will allow all children to enjoy Jock’s Adventure Playground, whether they live in the ‘Wee Toon’ or are enjoying a visit when it is safe to do so.’

Visit gofundme.com/f/inclusive-swing-for-campbeltown-playpark to contribute to the fundraiser.