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Oxford welcomes first public wheelchair swing at Sandfield Road Park

09/11/2020

A new wheelchair swing, the first of its kind in Oxford, has been installed near Oxford Children's Hospital in Sandfield Road Park.

The new facility, installed by Oxford City Council, is situated opposite the Children's Hospital and enables children with physical disabilities equal opportunity to enjoy the park's play features.

The swing has been purposefully located next to existing park equipment so that children with disabilities can feel included in play alongside their siblings and other children.

Thanks to grant funding from the FCC Communities Foundation, Oxford City Council were able to deliver the bespoke facility as part of an ambition to provide more inclusive play. FCC Communities Foundation is a not-for-profit business that awards grants for community projects through the Landfill Communities Fund.

Research shows that the action of swinging helps to develop motor skills, including balance, coordination, and gripping.

There are 2,300 children across Oxfordshire who identify as having a mobility disability.

Maryam Lyden, Chair of Young People’s Executive (YiPpEe) at Oxford University Hospitals, said: "The wheelchair swing's location close to the Children's Hospital offers children and families respite from the hospital setting and provides families with some time away.  It also enables siblings the chance to play together.

"We need playgrounds to develop vital social skills and these community spaces have a central role in our physical and mental health, so we are fully supportive of this initiative."

Councillor Linda Smith, portfolio holder for Parks and Open Spaces at Oxford City Council, said: "I'm delighted to announce the installation of the first wheelchair swing in Oxford. The project is a sure step in the right direction for Oxford City Council’s mission to break down barriers to inclusion, and has been purposefully located opposite the hospital to ensure that children from across Oxfordshire will be able to enjoy the benefits.

"Even with COVID-19 restrictions in place, this will allow families to get outside, improving physical and mental wellbeing during this challenging period."