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KIDS Adventure Playground: Specialist play area for disabled Hackney kids launches fundraiser to stay afloat

PUBLISHED: 11:07 29 November 2017 | UPDATED: 16:29 29 November 2017

A charity is bidding to raise £100,000 to keep a cherished playground for disabled children in Upper Clapton open. Photo by Paulina Sobczak photography

A charity is bidding to raise £100,000 to keep a cherished playground for disabled children in Upper Clapton open. Photo by Paulina Sobczak photography

PAULINA SOBCZAK PHOTOGRAPHY

An Upper Clapton adventure playground described as a "lifeline" to families with disabled children is at risk of closure unless a charity drums up £100,000 to save it.

The vast playground – opened in Spring Lane in 2002 – provides a closed-access area where disabled children are given the confidence and independence to enjoy leisure activities under the supervision of trained staff.

But with more than 100 families relying on the service this year, charity KIDS is struggling to provide enough staff and support to match demand for Hackney’s only specialist playground service for disabled kids.

A charity is bidding to raise £100,000 to keep a cherished playground for disabled children in Upper Clapton open. Photo by Paulina Sobczak photography A charity is bidding to raise £100,000 to keep a cherished playground for disabled children in Upper Clapton open. Photo by Paulina Sobczak photography

The charity says virtually all the parents they encounter say disabled children miss out on play and leisure activities and families struggle to find appropriate activities for them.

Meena Boora, whose eight-year-old son Shaan has autism and attends the playground, said: “I don’t know what we would do without the playground because it’s just me and my son. We don’t have any other family support.

A charity is bidding to raise £100,000 to keep a cherished playground for disabled children in Upper Clapton open. Photo by Paulina Sobczak photography A charity is bidding to raise £100,000 to keep a cherished playground for disabled children in Upper Clapton open. Photo by Paulina Sobczak photography

“Coming to the playground, he has a second family that looks after him and loves him.

“It’s like a safe haven for us.”

A charity is bidding to raise £100,000 to keep a cherished playground for disabled children in Upper Clapton open. Photo by Paulina Sobczak photography A charity is bidding to raise £100,000 to keep a cherished playground for disabled children in Upper Clapton open. Photo by Paulina Sobczak photography

The colourful playground has climbing frames, swings, treehouses and slides, but also a large indoor facility where staff can play games and musical instruments with children in a calmer environment.

As well as introducing disabled children to new friends, staff also believe the playground provides a welcome break for parents who are struggling to cope with the demands of 24-hour care.

An aerial shot of the KIDS playground in Upper Clapton which is under threat of closure, courtesy of KIDS playground.An aerial shot of the KIDS playground in Upper Clapton which is under threat of closure, courtesy of KIDS playground.

Funding for the playground varies from year to year, depending on the number of annual users, with 75 per cent of money coming in from Hackney Council at an hourly rate per child. The rest of the cash coming in is via the charity’s partners and trust donations.

Katherine Shaw, the London regional director of the charity, said: “The playground has been a lifeline for hundreds of families with disabled children in the area.

“We desperately need your help to ensure the disabled children of Hackney continue to have a safe and secure space to explore and enjoy outdoor activities.”

To visit the appeal page – which has raised £750 so far – go to www.kids.org.uk/savehackney.

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