New swing for children with disabilities gets given the thumbs up
The grin said it all - ten-year-old Charlie, from John Fielding Community Special School, gave his approval to the new swing in Central Park specially designed for a child in a wheelchair.
Next to the wheelchair swing are new traditional swings so that friends and relatives can swing alongside.
The new equipment is part of an overall £100,000 improvement to play areas and parks throughout Boston.
The new swing has been paid for by Local Hope from money it raised at fundraising events it organised and Boston Big Local.
Fran Taylor, Boston Borough Council's play and physical activity officer, thanked representatives of all the contributors who attended the launch and said how amazing the new equipment was, especially the swings which meant children of all abilities could now have fun together.
The improvements were drawn up by Boston Town Area Committee (BTAC) after a tour of all public open spaces.
Play equipment and outdoor gym equipment in Central Park has been replaced or repaired and a roundabout which can be enjoyed by someone in a wheelchair, a slide and goalposts are to be added soon.
Items have been repaired in St John's Park, Shelton's Field and Woodville Road where surfacing under swings was funded by Boston Big Local. There have also been repairs to the nest swing in Garfit's Lane and repairs to the Garfit's Lane changing rooms.
Planting has already taken place under trees in Woodville Road playing field of 9,000 snowdrops and bluebells, courtesy of Boston in Bloom which received bulbs and seeds worth £1,000 from Boston Seeds.
There are plans to plant more early-season bulbs, snowdrops and bluebells at other sites next autumn.
Two bug hotels, designed and made by Boston College students and donated to Boston in Bloom, will be made available for Broadfield Lane and the Central Park growing space
St John's Park will get a basket ball hoop and surfacing and a new rubbish bin. Garfit's Lane is to receive a multi-use games area and two new dog waste bins. Burgess Pit will get a new see-saw, two springer rides and surfacing to the basket ball area. Woodville Road and Shelton's Field will each get a new roundabout.
There will also be landscaping works: Expansion of the existing orchard and wildflower area in the St John's Play area and Burgess Pit and creation of orchards and wildflower areas in Garfit's Lane, Woodville Road and Shelton's Field.
Broadfield Lane will have an expansion of its existing orchard and wildflower area and creation of a hedgehog-friendly grass margin around the field edge.
Central Park will see an extension of the Birch avenue at the Tawney Street entrance, a pollinator-friendly garden near the sub-station and shade-loving plants to the nature area near the tennis courts. There will be ground cover planting at Pilgrim Patch alongside John Adams Way.
Vandals smashed from their housing the retaining clips for the wheelchair ramp at the swing sometime over the weekend. Grounds staff found them and the council is now looking at a way of refitting them so they cannot be removed. The clips allow the ramp to be lowered so that a child in a wheelchair can access the swing. The ramp is then clipped in place during the swing's use to act as a safety barrier.
Local Hope is a new charity based in Boston which was founded in October 2016. It is made up entirely of volunteers and at present we have approximately 15 members. As they keep their expenses to a minimum, all the money raised goes towards the projects where the funds are needed.
The group raised the funds by organising various events throughout the year, such as car boot sales, jumble sales, a garage sale trail and our main event of the year which is a Family Fun Day held in July 2017.
They also aim to get sponsorship from local businesses (we already have sponsorship from Chestnut Homes, Rev R T Westland, Boston West Golf Club and JKA Plumbing and Heating).
All events are advertised in the local newspapers, on large banners and posters situated throughout Boston and the surrounding villages, and flyers which are circulated by our group of volunteers.
This reaches a wide area of people to attract them to attend their events. They also advertise and have done interviews on the local radio stations and intend to do more of this in the future. They are constantly thinking of new ways in which they can raise funds and are always looking for new volunteers to join them.
Their aim is to raise money to fund projects within the Boston area, and also to help individuals and groups of all ages.
Local Hope after consultation with the community identified a need in Boston Central Park for children's play equipment, primarily for disabled children to be able to play alongside their able bodied siblings and friends, and through the organising of various events as stated above to raise funds, work to put a disabled swing in the Park has just been completed.
Boston Big Local
Boston Big Local was awarded the role of distributing grants for community projects from the one million pound pot awarded to Boston through the Big Lottery. Boston Big Local networks with Frances Taylor, play and physical activity officer at Boston Borough Council who, consults with the community as to how funding from the Big Lottery should be spent in the community.
Again realising the need for inclusive equipment in Central Park it was suggested that Local Hope and Boston Big Local work together through Frances to enable these requests to become a reality.
In fact the reality was that the wheelchair swing and four flat-bed swings plus new surfacing and connecting path was installed in Central Park.
Frances Taylor, play and physical activity officer at Boston Borough Council who has worked with all groups involved said: "Local Hope members have worked tirelessly over the last year holding various fundraising events and along with sponsorship from Chestnut Homes, Boston West Golf Club, JKA Plumbing and Heating, Rev R T Westland, the additional grant from Boston Big Local then getting permission from BTAC to situate the new swings in Central Park they were finally able to see for themselves the project completed and realise what a great addition to the play equipment in Central Park it has brought for children with disabilities and their families. It was amazing to witness the children having such fun on the equipment. Now they are able to enjoy the opportunity to swing along with their siblings which is fantastic."
Frances went on to say that this is not the end of new equipment in Central Park. The next project is already in hand and will see an inclusive roundabout with connecting path that also accommodates wheelchairs, a new slide and goal posts funded by Boston Big Local and BTAC - Boston Town Area Committee which will begin the second week of June 2018.