Play equipment specifically for disabled children should be available across Lewisham, according to a councillor. 

After asking for a list of accessible play areas in the borough at full council last week, Councillor James-J Walsh suggested that exclusive equipment should be rolled out as well as a new play strategy.  

He said: “It would be great if the council could turn this [list] into a guide for parents with children with additional barriers. 

“In addition, it would be good for the borough to set up an inclusive play strategy, as while the facilities provided are designed to be as inclusive as possible, sometimes there is a need for exclusive facilities such as wheelchair swings for children who need to be transferred by hoist and facilities for blind children.”

Cllr Walsh also suggested that part of the play strategy could include consulting with parents of disabled children on what sort of facilities they would like.  

Cabinet member for environment and transport, Sophie McGeevor, said she thought his ideas were “brilliant” and that she would “take them forward”.  

Cllr McGeevor provided a list of public parks that have play facilities accessible to mobility impaired children and wheelchair users in Lewisham.  

She said: “Play equipment is normally based on inclusivity rather than specifically made for people with disabilities. 

“So, for example, a cradle swing is not specifically designed for people with disabilities. 

“The following parks have play equipment that are specifically designed to encourage inclusivity. 

“Play areas in Lewisham also have free standing boards for interaction and musical instruments.” 

She said a basket swing was available in Horniman Triangle, Sydenham, Friendly Gardens, Deptford, Southend Park, Bellingham, Mountsfield Park, Catford, Hilly Fields, Brockley, Beckenham Place Park, Bellingham, Charlottenburg Park, New Cross, Hatcham Gardens, New Cross, and Northbrook Park, Grove Park.  

There is a roundabout, specifically with wheelchair access, in Home Park and sand pits in Fordham Park, New Cross, Deptford Park, Mountsfield Park, Chinbrook Meadows, Grove Park, Northbrook Park, Hilly Fields, Horniman Triangle, Blythe Hill Fields, Sydenham, and Hatcham Gardens. 

She added: “In terms of future installations, the team that is delivering the Mayor’s Greening Fund are ensuring that this area of need is being prioritised. 

“All new picnic tables will be wheelchair-accessible and new play equipment will, wherever possible and practicable, be inclusive.”