A new accessible and inclusive swing has been gifted to the Kāpiti Coast District Council to be installed at the Lorna Irene Reserve Playground in Raumati.
The inclusive swing has been gifted after Cyrus Dahl, 13, who has cerebral palsy, fundraised for an accessible swing at the local park near his home in the Wellington suburb of Woodridge this year.
The fundraising campaign drew attention and the $23,000 needed to cover the full cost of equipment, shipping, safety surfacing, and installation at the park was quickly raised after Cyrus set up a Givealittle page, made posters, pamphlets and emailed people that could help.
Monique Engelen, Nicola Stoddart-Edmonds with her son Kash, districtwide councillor and Deputy Mayor Janet Holborow, Kris Dahl and her son Cyrus, Sonja Williams and Sue Dahl. Photo / Rosalie Willis
The money raised exceeds what was needed in Woodridge with Cyrus and his mother, Kris, enabling several swings to be installed around Wellington.
"After my son Cyrus recently fundraised over $43,000 for accessible swings in Wellington, we were approached by a family in Kāpiti with a son who has cerebral palsy to ask for one of our swings," Kris said.
"When Cyrus first raised the money, he just wanted a specially designed supportive bucket swing, which he and other disabled children could enjoy."
Contacting the Kāpiti council, it was decided the swing would be installed at Lorna Irene Reserve Playground at the same time other refurbishments would be taking place.
The park is a small one, better for kids with sensory issues who don't like a whole lot of noise.
Council place and space marketing and events manager Sonja Williams said, "Accessible play equipment comes with a hefty price tag, and the gift of the disability swing means we can afford to create a more inclusive play space at Lorna Irene playground, for everyone to enjoy".
Nicola Stoddart-Edmonds and her son Kash Edmonds, who has cerebral palsy, live near Lorna Irene playground.
"When they saw that their local playground was up for renewal, they approached us at council to ask if we would support the installation of the disability swing in the playground.
"It was the impetus provided by Nicola and Kash that was instrumental in the decision to install the swing at Lorna Irene as part of the revamp.
"We are also working with Nicola and Kash to create a fully inclusive play space at the Lorna Irene playground, so over the next few months the space will be developed as an accessible and sensory playground, supporting the ongoing initiative of providing more inclusive play spaces across Kāpiti."
The swing will be installed soon, with more refurbishments including removing the ledge to get into the playground, removing the bark from the area to make it more accessible for wheelchairs.
In Kāpiti there are several other playgrounds with accessible swings such as Aorangi Reserve, Kaitawa Reserve and Weka Park, and Haruatai Park, however this is the only hard backed-upright one.
"We are also working on additional funding through the long-term plan to improve accessibility across our playgrounds and parks, and looking at opportunities to provide more inclusive and accessible equipment in our Destination Parks - Marine Gardens, Maclean Park, Mazengarb Reserve, Waikanae Park and Haruatai Park."