Our children just want to play with their friends

The campaigning parents and siblings with Councillor Kay at the East Links playpark. Pic: Michael Booth
The campaigning parents and siblings with Councillor Kay at the East Links playpark. Pic: Michael Booth

A group of determined Burntisland mums and dads has been campaigning for play equipment to allow their children who have special needs to play alongside their friends.

And the parents are hopeful that their efforts will be rewarded, with around six new pieces of special playpark rides and hands-on furniture and apparatus being considered for the town’s East Links playpark.

The move came about after the parents invited Burntisland councillor George Kay along to the swing park by the new school and explained to him that while it was all very nice for the local children, most of it was not accessible for those with additional support needs.

From there a campaign began to include adapted equipment into one of the town’s parks and, with land available adjacent to the main East Links park, the group started to draw up plans for the site.

The members, including Burntisland’s elected councillors, Burntisland Community Council and several parents, visited Rosslyn School to see what sort of play equipment would be best, and Councillor Kay and Claire Masterton, one of the parents leading the campaign, also visited The Yard in Edinburgh which runs special play centres for children and young people with disabilities.

Councillor Kay explained: “I was very happy when I was invited to meet with the parents, and it is obvious that having equipment like this at our parks in Burntisland would be great not only for the children living in the town and in Fife, but also for visitors, and it could help attract even more people to the town.

“I have also been speaking to the people from The Yard and trying to get them interested in a piece of land next to the Beacon Leisure Centre to use as the site for a new Yard in Fife.

“We have now set up a proper playpark committee with the aim of getting an inclusive playpark at the East Links as well as saving the one at the other end of the Links next to the car park.

“There is some funding already identified for the East Links, so it looks like that one will happen first and it makes sense as the land is there next to the existing park.”

Claire, mum of Megan (6), said: “When I take my little girl to the park I struggle to get her on the swings as the baby ones are too small and if she leans forward she could topple out.

“We have identified a roundabout which you can take wheelchairs and buggies onto, a see-saw which has easy access and a chute which you can get right up to with a wheelchair and no steps. There is also lots of hands on and sensory equipment which would be ideal.”

Councillor Kay added: “We would ideally like to see this in place for next spring.”