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Colwood Elementary gets new inclusive and accessible playground equipment

Parks and playgrounds on the West Shore have equipment for everyone
Officials, members of the community and Colwood Elementary School students gathered at Colwood Elementary School to celebrate the Sway Fun, a piece of playground equipment that is accessible for people in wheelchairs. (Lindsey Horsting/News staff)

Colwood Elementary School added a new piece of equipment to its playground.

The school put in a new Sway Fun after years of fundraising for it. It is a motion activated platform that swings side-to-side and is accessible by a ramp for anyone with mobility issues.

The idea was dreamt up by Kristine Chamberlain, whose daughter Savvy, is in a wheelchair.

The Parent Advisory Council (PAC) at Colwood Elementary started a long-term fund for the Sway Fun roughly five years ago after they had put other inclusive equipment into the playground.

The Sway Fun cost $42,000 and Tara Campbell, PAC vice president, said the school did bottle drives, hot lunches, and sold Christmas cards and Purdy’s chocolates as well as put on on walk-a-thons to raise money.

After a lot of hard work, Campbell said they realized it would take a very long time to reach their goal if they only fundraised within the school, so they started reaching out to the community for donations. The PAC received dozens of donations from local businesses and community members, which was instrumental in getting the equipment.

There are many parks on the West Shore that have accessible and inclusive equipment.

Colwood’s Herm William Park has an accessible excavator toy and accessible swing. There is a Spray and Play area at Colwood Creek Park activated by a foot button so that people in a wheelchair can activate it by rolling over it.

Highlands’ Twin Flower Park is a two-year-old playground that is designed to be accessible and inclusive for people with disabilities.

Langford has a Big-O swing at Westhills Park that can be used by many people at once with all different mobilities and it is intended for everyone including adults. Langford has also started using rubber surfacing instead of gravel in their playground for a stable surface.

Centennial Park has two separate areas for children ages five to 12 and a play area for younger children that has ramp structures to access it.

Veterans Memorial Park and Glen Lake Park playgrounds also have inclusive play areas or quiet spaces to sit and read a book.

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