Disability equipment unveiled in Taylor Park after dad's petition

Accessible playground equipment is being rolled out to parks across St Helens after one dad's successful mission.

St Helens' first roundabout designed for children with special needs was officially unveiled in Taylor Park this week.

The roundabout was unveiled in Taylor Park at a ceremony attended by Mayor of St Helens Borough, Cllr Sue Murphy and Moss Bank resident Paul Smailes, who launched a petition to install accessible play equipment last year.

In an emotional speech, Mr Smailes spoke about having to travel to parks out of the borough so that his son Luke, who is wheelchair-bound and has learning difficulties, could play and feel included with other children.

Taylor Park now boasts an inclusive Wicksteed swirl roundabout and the foundation for an accessible swing set, with an installation at Sherdley Park planned later this week.

There are also plans to roll out similar equipment to more parks across the region, including Rainhill Park and Mesnes Park later this year.

Much of the equipment is being funded from Section 106 funds secured from local housing developments.

Paul said: “I’d like to thank everyone who signed the petition and also the councillors and the parks officers for getting the project completed.

"This is bringing joy to disabled children and adults, when they look into the playground and see others having fun, they know they can join in too.”

Councillor Andy Bowden, St Helens Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment, added:

“Our parks and playgrounds should be accessible to all, no matter their ability.

"We have a wide programme of work to make our play areas inclusive where we can, so that families across the borough can enjoy them.

“We were glad to involve passionate people like Mr Smailes and his family in the process throughout."