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Grant ensures two Crawley playgrounds can remain open

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Crawley Borough Council has announced that two of its adventure playgrounds will remain open for supervised play this year following a one-off grant from the government.

The government has given every local authority a Lower Tier Services Grant so the council has decided to use this to keep Cherry Lane and Millpond adventure playgrounds open as supervised, open access play sites until the end of October half-term 2021 (subject to Covid-19 restrictions).

Millpond and Cherry Lane will operate with an online registration and booking system to create a Covid-secure environment and ensure that the adventure playgrounds are being used by Crawley children.

However, this grant is for one year only so after October, Cherry Lane Adventure Playground will move to unsupervised play.

After October half-term, Millpond Adventure Playground in Bewbush will close permanently. Creasys Drive Adventure Playground in Broadfield is already closed and will not reopen. The council will be bringing forward new unsupervised play facilities in Broadfield and Bewbush in due course.

Waterlea Adventure Playground will be refurbished and then reopen as an unsupervised play site in 2022.

The council will also bring in its new model of outreach play, which will look to move play activities into neighbourhoods and increase participation. This model will also:

  • Increase the range of play opportunities for children away from more traditional building-based activities
  • Reach groups that may not usually access services
  • Make use of buildings across the town and work in partnership with other existing groups and organisations.

Councillor Peter Lamb, Leader of the Council, said:

“While the long-term impact of Covid-19 on council funding means adventure playgrounds will have to move to unsupervised play by 2022, I’m glad that this one-off funding means we can continue to provide supervised play until next winter, as we roll out our new outreach model.”

Councillor Duncan Crow, Leader of the Opposition, said:

“I welcome this additional government funding that has enabled us to extend supervised play at two adventure playgrounds for this year, while we also work to refurbish Waterlea for unsupervised play for next year.”

Charity

Crawley boy receives pioneering kit to help with his disabilities

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Eleven-year-old Theakston Lee-Watson is among the first recipients of innovative new equipment to provide disabled children with sensory activities in their own home.

Theakston, from Crawley in Sussex, received the equipment from Caudwell Children as part of a UK-first charity campaign to deliver sensory equipment and support to disabled children across the country.

The sensory pack will provide a range of therapeutic benefits for Theakston, who has autism and sensory processing disorder, helping him regulate his emotions and develop his motor skills. 

Theakston’s mum, Kitty Lee-Watson, has already noticed the benefits the equipment brings.

Kitty said:

“He has a lot of anxiety at the moment, I now have the sensory pack out on his bedroom floor so when he has a meltdown it’s easy to guide him to something or distract him. This has been a real help.

“Theakston’s favourite part of the Get Sensory pack is the Fibre Optic Light as it’s both visual and tactile. He likes touching the fibres.”

Caudwell Children has pledged to provide thousands of families with essential sensory equipment during the Covid-19 pandemic – with each family receiving a pack of appropriate and safe toys to support children living with a wide range of disabilities. 

Trudi Beswick, CEO of Caudwell Children, said:

“Our Get Sensory Packs are designed to support children who are likely to benefit from sensory resources – it’s so encouraging to hear that Theakston is enjoying using the equipment and his family can see the benefits already.”

“We’ve committed to provide thousands of families with a pack, because we know it’s difficult to access resources at the moment.

“To deliver on that we’re now calling for anyone who can to make a difference to the life of a disabled child by donating to our Get Sensory Packs campaign – you can make a life-changing difference from just £5.”

Caudwell Children launched its Get Sensory Packs campaign following consultation with parents to find the most appropriate and safe sensory items – selected by the charity’s Occupational Therapists.

The packs include:

  • A Liquid Cell Timer,
  • Scented Bubbles,
  • A BoBo Massager,
  • Sissle Brush,
  • 4 Ball Massager,
  • Weighted Cushion,
  • Spikey Domes,
  • Space Blanket, and
  • A Fibre Optic Lamp.

Packs are available to children who have a confirmed disability or chronic illness. Families can apply directly to Caudwell Children for support, with the charity providing 80% of the cost of each pack.

Families will be asked to contribute 20% of the cost, which is £20, and to confirm their financial status and their child’s diagnosis. More information is available at getsensorypacks.com.

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