Frustrated family highlights inclusivity issues with Rugby’s playgrounds - The Rugby Observer

Frustrated family highlights inclusivity issues with Rugby’s playgrounds

Rugby Editorial 28th Mar, 2024   0

THE FRUSTRATED family of a Rugby boy with a disability which affects his mobility has inspired an initiative to make playgrounds in the town more inclusive.

Mum Millie and godmother Lottie were struggling to find a safe and engaging play area for the child – so took their case to a local councillor.

Rugby Borough Council (RBC) has since voted unanimously to improve the design and consultation processes for the town’s play areas.

The family encountered problems such as a play fort with restrictively high steps, and a path covered with loose stones which made it unsafe for use with a walking aid.

Millie, who did not wish to share her full name, said: “Access to outdoor play is so important to us as a family. All children should have the same opportunity when visiting their local park.

“The access barriers we face have an emotional effect on my son because he cannot fully interact with his sister or other children, and cannot enjoy the same experience.

“The smallest access barrier can have a massive impact on children and their emotional state. Parks should reflect an inclusive society that is accessible for all.”

Lottie added: “We are one family out of many across Rugby with children who have mobility problems, disabilities or special educational needs.

“It is important that all those children feel as included as possible.”

They took their case to Coun Louise Robinson, who raised the issue at a council meeting.

Coun Robinson said: “Rugby has some great parks. However, our play areas are missing opportunities to maximise inclusion. I believe this is because the current consultation protocol is not targeting the right people.

“Inclusive play is good for the development of all children by bringing them into contact with children who are different to themselves.

“Through closer engagement with the communities that need access to more inclusive play, there is an opportunity to improve the design protocols.”

Coun Robinson’s motion to improve design and consultation processes – starting with hosting a focus group linked to planned work at Caldecott Park – was approved by all RBC councillors.

During the debate, she suggested current consultations on three play areas – at Bawnmore Road, Charwelton Drive and New Bilton Recreation Ground – should also aim to better engage the community.

Lottie added: “It is early days, but I hope lots of families will engage with this and have their say.”

Visit to take part in the consultations.


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