Russell Park play area in Bedford to be improved with wheelchair friendly equipment thanks to £100,000 grant

A £100,000 grant has been made available to create a new inclusive play space at the Russell Park play area in Bedford.

By Olga Norford
Tuesday, 31st May 2022, 3:13 pm
Updated Wednesday, 1st June 2022, 3:21 pm

The new play space will feature inclusive equipment that can be also be used by those who have a special educational need or disability, and their families. This will allow entire families to enjoy Russell Park play area together.

Equipment planned for the play area includes a wheelchair accessible roundabout and trampoline, interactive play panels, play unit and inclusive picnic benches.

The improvements will provide additional opportunities for physical activity and socialising with friends for children and young people.

A visual of how the new play area will look

Work is set to start in Russell Park on Monday, June 13. However, a small area of the playground will need to be closed to enable a bark pit to be removed safely while the majority of the playground will remain open.

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Funding for the project has been awarded to Bedford Borough Parent Carer Forum through the Mayor’s Youth Empowerment Fund. It is expected to take around eight weeks to complete with the new play area due to open by the end of July.

Mayor Dave Hodgson, said: “We’re really excited for progress to start on the inclusive play area and look forward to seeing it come to life. We want to make sure that everyone who lives in Bedford Borough is able to access high quality parks and open spaces.”

Cllr James Valentine, Portfolio Holder for Education and Children’s Services, said “Playing in the park and socialising with others is an important part of a child’s development, which is why we’re so keen to support this project and show our commitment to ensuring that Bedford Borough is an inclusive place to live and play.”

Kerri Rennie, chair of the Bedford Borough Parent Carer Forum, said: “Bedford Borough Parent Carer Forum is excited to be working with Bedford Borough Council on the Russell Park Playground Refurbishment Project. Our members’ feedback highlighted a need for an inclusive playground in the local area to allow families to get out and about in our parks and green spaces, and this project is helping to address that need.”