Published: Friday, 6 November 2020

Oxford City Council welcomes the installation of a new wheelchair swing in Sandfield Road Park, the first of its kind in the city.

The wheelchair swing is situated opposite the John Radcliffe Children’s Hospital and enables children with physical disabilities equal opportunity to enjoy the park’s play features.  The hospital is attended by, and accessible to, families from all across Oxfordshire. 

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 this bespoke facility as part of our 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. Oxford City Council already provides inclusive play equipment at a number of its parks and is aiming to further improve provision for wheelchair users. 

As with the rest of our play areas and equipment, we ask that park users follow the latest COVID-19 advice for this equipment.

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 restrictions in place, this will allow families to get outside, improving physical and mental wellbeing during this challenging period.

Councillor Linda Smith, portfolio holder for Parks and Open Spaces 

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

Maryam Lyden (Chair), Young People’s Executive (Yippee), Oxford University Hospitals

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