Joy as Jock’s Boat playpark becomes more inclusive

At the official launch of the accessible playpark equipment, from left: Councillor Donald Kelly; Cameron McNair, MACC chairman; Iona MacLean with daughter Lucia; Valerie Nimmo, convener of Campbeltown Community Council; Catherine Dobbie; Walter Bell of Argyll and Bute Trust; and Andrew Hemmings of MACC.
At the official launch of the accessible playpark equipment, from left: Councillor Donald Kelly; Cameron McNair, MACC chairman; Iona MacLean with daughter Lucia; Valerie Nimmo, convener of Campbeltown Community Council; Catherine Dobbie; Walter Bell of Argyll and Bute Trust; and Andrew Hemmings of MACC.

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They say a picture is worth a thousand words and the look of joy on five-year-old Lyle MacLean’s face as he uses a new accessible swing at Jock’s Adventure Playground speaks volumes.

The joy on Lyle MacLean's face is clear to see.
The joy on Lyle MacLean’s face is clear to see.

Lyle’s mum Iona spent months campaigning to raise funds to purchase the swing-set, which has an adapted seat with straps on one side and a wheelchair accessible swing on the other, after noticing a lack of equipment for children with different abilities while visiting playparks with Lyle, who has autism, and his big sister Esmie, eight.

Last week, Iona, who is now also mum to six-week-old Lucia, was joined by Councillor Donald Kelly and Catherine Dobbie of Campbeltown Community Council, who supported her campaign from the outset, at the official launch of the new swing-set.

Together, they raised almost £25,000 which was required to fund the purchase and installation of the equipment from Welsh playground specialists GL Jones.

Councillor Kelly secured £10,000 from ScottishPower Renewables’ Beinn an Tuirc 3 Wind Farm, Iona raised more than £9,000 through crowdfunding and various fundraising initiatives, and the remaining £5,000 was raised by Campbeltown Community Council, which received grants from Campbeltown Common Good Fund, Argyll and Bute Trust, Machrihanish Airbase Community Company, the Rotary Club of Campbeltown and Glen Scotia Distillery.

Representatives of many of these groups also attended the official launch of the swing-set.

The wheelchair swing can be accessed using a universal RADAR key, which wheelchair users are entitled to receive from Argyll and Bute Council to gain access to disabled toilets across the UK.

‘I would like to thank both Councillor Donald Kelly and Catherine Dobbie who worked tirelessly in helping with the project,’ Iona said. ‘Without them, it would not have been possible.

‘I would also like to personally thank all the businesses, small and large, who made contributions, and the community for getting behind the project and helping with all the fundraising efforts, as well as everyone who made donations.

‘Every child and young adult deserves the chance to experience the enjoyment of a playpark, regardless of their ability.’

Catherine said: ‘Campbeltown Community Council would like to thank all funders as well as local contractors McFadyens Contractors, Donald McLean and Archie Johnston for all their help and support to ensure this very worthwhile project has been a huge success.’

Councillor Kelly said: ‘I would like to thank Iona for her hard work, enthusiasm and fantastic fundraising; without her efforts, the project would never have become a reality.

‘I would also like to thank Catherine Dobbie and Campbeltown Community Council for their magnificent support.

‘I would like to thank all the funders, especially Gillian Arnott and ScottishPower who donated the incredible sum of £10,000, and local firm McFadyens Contractors who carried out groundworks at the site free of charge.

‘It is fantastic to see the all-inclusive play equipment installed at Jock’s Adventure Playground and it is my intention, during the course of the next five years, to look at the various other playparks in our area, with a view to upgrading existing equipment and providing more inclusive play equipment in South Kintyre.’

A new gate and wheelchair accessible path will be completed soon to finish the project.