Sheffield charity opens innovative new play area

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Paces, the Sheffield charity and school which supports children, adults and families with motor disorders, has launched their new inclusive play area at a grand opening event.

The play area, developed at the school’s High Green campus, has been specially designed to enable children of all abilities to play together.

Costing £25,000, the project has been in development for three years with the views of children of all abilities, their parents and community groups from across the area central to the plans.

When they were asked what they would like to see in the play area, the overwhelming response was for a play space that felt happy, relaxed, inclusive and welcoming to both children and parents with activities that were fun, interactive, sociable and stimulating.

All of these factors have been planned to be part of the new play area which was built over the summer.

At the launch event, children and their parents came together with community leaders and supporters to see the new play area and try it out for the first time. They were joined by Paces’ ambassadors from charity partner Sheffield United – first team midfielder Chris Basham and ladies’ team player Kim Brown.

Ann Menzies-Blythe, Chair of Trustees at Paces, officially opened the playground alongside one of Paces’ pupils. She said:

“Families of the children we specialise in caring for at Paces have often told us there is a need for more accessible play spaces which welcome families with disabled and non-disabled children to play and have fun together.

“This new play area, designed by them and for them, will mean they no longer have to travel long distances to find suitable places to play together and give an outstanding, multi-sensory, interactive play area they can use on their doorstep.

“I look forward to seeing it being well used by the school’s pupils and wider community in the months ahead.”

Charities, businesses and organisations from around the UK and Sheffield have been involved in supporting the project financially. These include Lord’s Taverners, Hallam FM Cash for Kids, The DM Thomas Foundation for Young People, the Tesco Bags of Help Initiative, the Co-Op Community Fund and Vito’s Italian Restaurant in Sheffield.

Spencer Pitfield, Interim Chief Executive of Paces, added: “On behalf of Paces, I would like to thank everyone who has given money to allow our vision of an innovative inclusive play area to become reality.

“Raising over £25,000 for a small charity such as ours is a significant achievement but everyone who saw what we had planned understood why it was so important both for Paces and our wider community.”