Providing a special needs accessible play park in Letterkenny is set to become a dream come true this summer for a committee who are currently in the midst of huge fundraising drive which has received a significant boost with the news that the new organization is to benefit from this year’s North West 10k.
A complete absence of playing facilities for children with special needs at the two town parks in Letterkenny wont’ be the case for much longer provided that the people of Donegal come out and support the fundraising initiatives of the Special Needs Accessible Playpark group SNAP including a huge series of events planned for Letterkenny on Saturday, April 20th.
SNAP and the other two main beneficiaries of the 2013 North West 10k Donegal Mountain Rescue and the Friends of Letterkenny General Hospital are pooling their resources to host a number of fundraisers during that the day in different parts of the town. Chairperson of SNAP Samantha Robinson says there many children with special needs not alone in the Letterkenny area but across the county who will benefit from the new play area which will be located at the Bernard McGlinchey Town Park on the Kilmcarennan Road beside St. Conal’s Hospital.
The new facilities will be incorporated into one of the existing children’s play areas. The objective is that those with disabilities can play in the same areas as others who are able bodied. The infrastructure will include a wheelchair accessible roundabout, swings, sensory panels, mirrors and musical equipment dotted around the site.
Susan Duffy a teacher at the Little Angels School, which caters for children with special needs says there can be no excuse in the modern era for not having a play area in Letterkenny Town Park suitable for those with disabilities. The Little Angles does have the appropriate equipment like the wheelchair roundabout which is a play facility and the swings with the requisite safety attachments.
“It’s fine here at the townpark if you don’t have special needs. There is a good play area but it has nothing for children with disabilities” Susan says. Deirdre McCormick from Kilmacrennan who has a son Conor who has special needs has a similar story. “All the other kids can use the play area here but Conor can’t. I have two other boys who even say to me that there is nothing for Conor to play on here” Deirdre says.
The Special Needs Accessible Play Area group (SNAP) was formed last September by three women Karen Kirwan, Priscilla McGinley and Marie Tease. The group is delighted that Letterkenny Town Council is lending their support to the project. They have also acknowledged the advice and work of town gardener David Donnelly and engineering staff in advancing the plans.
In order to develop the best possible facilities members of SNAP and the Council have visited a fully equipped special needs accessible play area at a public park in Derry. The group would see the planning developments at the Bernard McGlinchey town park as the first phase in providing comprehensive recreational facilities for children with disabilities in Letterkenny, which would also cater for those affected right across Donegal.
The official launch of the SNAP play area is scheduled to take place on the weekend of Saturday the 3rd and Sunday the 4th of August when there will be the spectacular scene of 100 people parachuting down to mark the arrival of the new equipment in another of the charity fundraising initiatives. However, before that there is a lot of hard work to be done in terms of fundraising to make that dream become a reality.
Saturday week April 20th is going to see the three North West 10k charities SNAP; Donegal Mountain Rescue and the Friends of Letterkenny General Hospital teaming up to host a number of fundraising initiatives around the town. It will include blood pressure checks, bucket collections; the mountain rescue dog will be making an appearance as will the Autism Assistance Dogs. Registrations for those walking and running the North West 10k will also be taken.
SNAP has a charity shop at 3 Oliver Plunkett Road just opposite Letterkenny’s Central Library. All donations would be greatly appreciated and will go towards supporting the project in the Bernard McGlinchey Town Park. SNAP Charity can also be followed on Facebook.
The website at www.northwest10k.com is now open to take on-line entries for the North West 10k which takes place on Sunday, May 5th in Letterkenny. Entry fee is 15 euro for the run and 10 euro for the walk.
For further information on the event visit www.northwest10k.com.