First ‘ability swing’ for Ipswich at Castle Hill Play Area

Published24th August 2022

A new ability swing for wheelchair users at the new Roman Play Villa in Castle Hill Park is to be installed as part of Ipswich Borough Council’s commitment to inclusivity.

The ability swing allows wheelchair users to swing alongside a flat-seated swing and so enables side-by-side inclusive play – a key aim of the Council’s Play Area improvements.

This is a new type of equipment for the Council’s Play Areas and follows consultation about a swing to meet the needs of independence and inclusivity. This consultation will continue once the ability swing is installed to ensure that it is the correct piece of equipment, can be used effectively and should also be used at other locations.

The swing is used with a RADAR key. There is also signage and a QR code that leads to a YouTube link to help ensure correct use.

Castle Hill is the first of the Play Areas to be upgraded and with works currently underway. The inclusion of the ability swing will not delay the planned opening of the new park in Autumn 2022.

The cost of the ability swing is being met by the agreed budget for the Play Area and that is part of Ipswich Borough Council’s Play Area Strategy and Action Investment Plan that was agreed by the Council in March 2022.

This Play Area Strategy includes standards for inclusive play areas and the introduction of new equipment suitable for all abilities. including ramp access, ability swings, sensory and quiet play sections as well as colourful and textured areas.

Cllr Phil Smart, Ipswich Borough Council Portfolio Holder for the Environment, says:

“This great equipment has a platform for a wheelchair that enables a child to swing without needing to lift themselves or be lifted into a seat. Their friend can also swing alongside them. As well as helping independence this also makes for a more inclusive experience.

“This is the first swing of this type to be installed in Ipswich in the first Play Area to be improved. The Council’s Play Area Strategy will deliver a timetable of improvements over the next five years and with an emphasis on inclusive play for all ages and abilities.”

For more information about Castle Hill park please visit: A new Roman-themed play villa to open at Castle Hill, Ipswich | Ipswich Borough Council

Image Credit – Kompan