South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has welcomed the news that a flagship inclusive Annan play park looks set to open this week.
Annan Play Park Steering Group was formed in 2015 to raise funds through external funding and fundraising to create an inclusive play park suitable for all abilities and ages from 1-101.
The park has been taking shape next to Newington Sports Centre at the Weyroc and will not only be for the people of Annan but also villages and settlements in the surrounding area.
Colin Smyth has been passionate about creating inclusive play parks for many years and helped secure £166,000 of investment through Dumfries and Galloway Council.
He said: “This is fantastic news for Annan and I’d like to take this opportunity to say a huge well done to the Annan Playpark Steering Group and everyone involved for continuing to push forward with these plans.
“Developing inclusive play parks for all is an issue that I’m really passionate about. That’s why one of the last things I did as a Councillor was propose the establishment of a dedicated £500,000 council fund to help develop inclusive parks.
“When I proposed the inclusive park fund, it was inspired by a visit to the Usual Place in Dumfries and a meeting there with the Parental Inclusion Network who were developing the project for Catherine Street.
“I met a family who had a severely disabled son. They told me that often they didn’t take their son to the local park with the rest of their children because the equipment wasn’t accessible for him and he had to sit and watch his brother and sister play. It was truly heart-breaking and just isn’t right. All our parks should be accessible to all.
“That conversation inspired me to propose in the Dumfries and Galloway Council budget the specific fund to create Inclusive Play Parks and well done to the current council continuing that fund year on year, creating accessible parks across the region.
“It’s great that Annan now joins Dumfries, Stranraer and Lockerbie in developing an inclusive park and ultimately I look forward to the day every community in the region has parks accessible for all.”