Inclusivity was the central message as a brand new upgrade to the playground at Portlaoise Leisure Centre was unveiled recently.
Laois County Council Cathaoirleach Conor Bergin MCC and pupils and staff from Kolbe and St Francis schools were the special guests at the official opening of Portlaoise’s new accessible play park.
Located in ‘Dún Spraoi’ playground beside Portlaoise Leisure Centre, now renamed Laois Leisure Portlaoise, this new inclusive play space offers state-of-the-art play opportunities for children of all ages and abilities to enjoy together.
The new play features include exciting play equipment including an inclusive roundabout, musical equipment, hammock, sensory play path and a Go Swing – from American company Landscape Structures.
This fully inclusive swing is one of only three of its kind installed in Ireland and the first in the midlands. The We-Go-Swing® is a revolutionary step forward in inclusive play experience.
Designed to be integrated into any playground setting, this swing lets kids of all abilities play together and experience the thrill of swinging.
With no need to transfer, the We-Go-Swing opens up a whole new world of playground fun.
Welcoming everyone to the official opening, An Cathoirleach Conor Bergin MCC paid tribute to the campaigning efforts of Cllr Noel Tuohy to secure the first accessible swing for Laois.
He said “We’re delighted with the positive reaction it has received since the installation commenced.
“It is a fantastic addition to the Portlaoise area for local families, our schools and visitors.
“It’s a welcoming and safe space for play which is vital for the health and wellbeing of all our young people and I’m very proud that Council is once again leading the way by providing innovative and inclusive opportunities like this.”
Sport & Leisure Officer Ann Marie Maher paid tribute to the support received for this project from both Members of Laois County Council and management which allowed her to install not just an inclusive swing but also an entire inclusive area complete with sensory planting.
Dún Spraoi playground is currently open every day during daylight hours.
Photographer Michael Scully went to the event on Friday and captured some great pictures: