Play For All Playground Project

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Play For All Playground Project: Universally Accessible Playground

Port Coquitlam, CanadaPort Coquitlam, Canada
Year Founded:
2009
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
Growth
Budget: 
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

We are committed to providing a safe, universally accessible playground that all children can enjoy regardless of age and ability. We are raising funds to build the first playground in Port Coquitlam that can be used by everyone, including children in wheelchairs and those with other special needs.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

All our kids could play together on a playground regardless of age or ability?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The majority of playgrounds built on school grounds and in community locations are focused on physically and mentally abled children. Our communities include children that have mobility issues and varying cognitive disabilities. We need to lead by example to show children that social and physical interaction with all abilities fosters a healthy community. It will bring children together,help them develop,build confidence, and play as equals.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The playground we envision will be a welcome change for children in wheelchairs, mobility issues and any learning disabilities. The rubberized surface will allow wheelchairs and walkers to maneuver freely to all areas and allow for a place for children to comfortably sit and interact socially. The ramps and bridges will allow easy access for all children around the structure. The playground will feature sensory boards to enable children with conditions such as autism to engage with their friends in a form of play they are capable of. The multi-level structure will invite children of varying age and ability levels to join in healthy playtime.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

In the Coquitlam School District that we are apart of, there are 21 students in wheelchairs and there are no accessible playgrounds for them to utilize. One of our students in a wheelchair would have to park at the edge of the raised wooden perimeter enclosing the bark mulch and watch her friends play. On weekends, her parents would take her to the playground lift her up out of the wheelchair and carry her up to the slides and with one at the top with her and the other parent below, would assist her to slide down safely. Our accessible playground would enable her and her cohorts the freedom and independence to maneuver freely around much of the playground and structure.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

The first two phases of our playground have been installed which include ramps, bucket swings, sensory boards and a rocking platform. These allow children in wheelchairs and with varying cognitive abilities a new world to discover through play. The children can now interact with their friends over much of the physical structure and enjoy sensory boards at varying locations to indulge in. One impact that we are especially proud of is that in June of 2013, the City of Port Coquitlam has adopted a policy that all future playground structures built in the city will be accessible to all. This includes one city playground going through an upgrade in 2014. Our city is the first in the lower mainland to initiate such a policy and we are proud to know that our vision has helped city planners make this happen!

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

We want school districts and cities consider all of our children. We are very aware of helping ending bullying and exlcuding those who are different. We need to consider how a playground that is built for only those children who are able bodied can make a child who isn't feel. We see our playground as a turning point for bringing health, fitness and inclusion for every child in our communities. We hope that other municipalities will look to our city's new policy and consider enacting change within their own city's playgrounds.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

We have worked with the accessible playground company, Blue Imp, to section the playground into 4 phases. Each phase allows the children to play on some of the equipment and structures while we continue to fundraise for the remaining phases. We look to our community and across Canada for ideas and supporters for donations to bring our playground to it's completion.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

The Monkey Around project which provides indoor play would enable children in wheelchairs a surface to be able to maneuver around. The games offered during playtime could have children with varying cognative and physical abilities a chance to participate. The Zonta Accessible Playground in Mississauga Ontario (2002) and Toronto's Jeff Healy Playground,(2012)which is fully accessible, both are examples of the hard work these accessible playgrounds take to be built. They also serve as fine examples of a community seeing all their residents as inclusive members of their municipality.
Team

Founding Story

One of our teachers, parents and volunteers on our committee has a child who was diagnosed with SMA, Spinal Muscular Atrophy. This condition made it necessary for her child to be in a powered wheelchair. Seeing how her child would be left at the sidelines of the playground while her classmates played was our "Aha" moment. We need to give her and other children who have a disability (physically or cognitively) an equal opportunity to play, socialize and engage in accessible fun!

Team

Our team is comprised of part time volunteers, many from our Parent Advisory Council at our school. They are all passionate, hard working parents who have chosen to take up this great project. The vocation of our volunteers vary from our Principal, teachers, financial sector, health sectorl and homemakers all wanting to make a positive change. Due to the varying background, we are able to bring dynamic and different eyes on our project.
About You
About You
First Name

Susan

Last Name

Jenner

About Your Project
Organization Name
How long has your organization been operating?

Project
Organization Country

, BC, Port Coquitlam

Country where this project is creating social impact

, BC, Port Coquitlam

What awards or honors has the project received?
Funding: How is your project financial supported?

Friends and family, Individuals, Businesses, Regional government.

Supplemental
Partnerships: Tell us about your partnerships

We have a partnership between Coquitlam School District #43, Castle Park Elementary parents and the community at large.

The City of Port Coquitlam has partnered with our project through numerous grants we applied and recieved from them.

We have had endorsements and donations from companies, corporations and individuals to see our project become a reality.

Comments

Congratulations on the completion of the early phases of this project. I hope that as part of the sustainability of such a project there would be wide spread awareness, and efforts to enact similar policy changes toward inclusion playgrounds in other municipalities throughout Canada to increase the potential impact of this project to a much wider sector of the population.

The playground is a wonderful opportunity for children to grow both socially and emotionally. Everyone deserves a chance to play!

This Universally Accessible Playground Project has brought greater awareness to our community and led the City of Port Coquitlam to create a leading-edge policy that ensures that all future playgrounds in our City be accessible to all! (Info available on the Universally Accessible Playground Project Facebook page) What a great effort from a group that impacts the entire community for the better!