Members of Mae Murray Foundation’s Youth Panel are pictured with Angela Stallard, PlayBoard;
Kyleigh Lough and Alix Crawford, Mae Murray Foundation; and Danny Donnelly MLA, event sponsor.

Mae Murray Foundation and PlayBoard NI have produced a new resource to support the development of inclusive play parks in Northern Ireland.

The ADAPT my Play guide and toolkit follows local research which highlighted that disabled children and their families face significant barriers accessing quality play experiences within play parks. Co-produced by Mae Murray Foundation’s Youth Panel, the lived experience of young people has been central to creation of the resource.

ADAPT my Play aims to support local authorities, voluntary organisations, housing associations, schools, private play providers and other organisations to design and build inclusive play parks that meet the needs of all children.

Speaking ahead of the resource launch taking place on 4 March at Parliament Buildings, Stormont, Alix Crawford, Mae Murray Foundation Chair, said:

“Our research into the experiences of families using play parks clearly showed that they face numerous barriers on a daily basis such as a lack of site accessibility and accessible equipment. Working with our Youth Panel and PlayBoard, we have created a resource to ensure that all children are able to enjoy their right to play when visiting play parks.

It is critical that play spaces are inclusive, allowing children of all ages and abilities to interact, make friends, socialise, and have fun together. We are calling on the Northern Ireland Executive to endorse the guide and toolkit and embed its use as a key requirement of capital play park development funding programmes across government, including at local council level.”

Alan Herron, PlayBoard Chief Executive, added:

“All children have the right to play as enshrined within Article 31 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) however many children, young people and their families continue to find themselves excluded from play parks.

Playing is a fundamental part of childhood. The urge to play is natural and is an essential element of all children’s lives, contributing to the joy of childhood. By enhancing access to quality inclusive play, children and young people will have increased opportunities to take part in play-based learning, skills development and social development through mixing with other children.

ADAPT my Play offers those involved in the design and construction of play parks with a clear understanding of the requirements associated with developing inclusive play parks. The resource also provides an opportunity for the Northern Ireland Executive to work towards fulfilment of the child’s Right to Play.”

Hannah Black, a member of Mae Murray Foundation’s Youth Panel said:

“I don’t remember going to the park as a child. There was nothing in the park that I could play on in my wheelchair, so we didn’t go. I have a younger sister and this means that she didn’t get to go to the park either as my parents didn’t want me to feel left out. Together with my friends in the Mae Murray Foundation Youth Panel, we wanted to create change, so that in the future, children like us get to play at the park too.”

ADAPT my play is supported by BBC Children in Need and The Hunter Foundation.

Read ADAPT my Play

Saul, a member of Mae Murray Foundation’s Youth Panel,
shares our Call to Action with First Minister Michelle O’Neill
at Parliament Buildings.