Hammersmith & Fulham Council will open its first disability-friendly playground next week thanks to a campaign run by a devoted local mother.
Hammersmith mum Hayley Wedgbury raised £7,000 for a wheel-chair accessible swing for her nine-year-old daughter with cerebral palsy, Mia, and other children who use Wormholt Park.
The sum was matched by H&F Council who have also installed a wheelchair accessible roundabout and trampoline, as well as equipment for children with sensory impairments.
“Disabled children should be able to enjoy playgrounds and feel as part of the community as every other child,” said Cllr Sue Fennimore, H&F Cabinet Member for Social Inclusion.
“I’m delighted we could help fulfil Hayley’s and Mia’s wish to create an inclusive playground for every local family in need of one. The passion she has for improving the life of her daughter and those of other disabled children is a real inspiration.”
The new play area is part of a huge £1million overhaul of Wormholt Park, funded by a local developer. It includes a new adventure playground, planting, footpaths, a refurbished ball court and other improvements.
Hayley, who lives off Stamford Brook Road, said the new play equipment will make a huge difference. “I’m overwhelmed and really excited. I can’t wait for it to open. It’s going to be just perfect.
“I just want Mia to mix with children in the community. People can feel quite uncomfortable around disabled children but if children get used to seeing disabled children in their parks, then it’s an education. It won’t be so shocking.”
Amazingly, Hayley has just raised another £12,000 by working with Parents Active to persuade Tesco to choose the playground as one of the beneficiaries of money collected through the 5p plastic bag charge.
Hayley and H&F Council will now use the money to install signs and plant sensory flower beds – and are working with pupils from Jack Tizard and Cambridge schools to choose more disability-friendly play equipment.
As well as the disability friendly equipment, the family playground features a slide with a dragon’s head carved by a local artist and designed by pupils from Wormholt Park Primary School.