Posted on: Wednesday 8 December 2021
Torfaen council’s cabinet committee recently approved plans to invest £1.2 million to help the community recover from the impacts of covid-19.
One of the approved projects involved allocating £259,365 to add inclusive sensory play equipment at Cwmbran Boating Lake and Pontypool Park.
The money had been set aside last year to help respond to a range of negative impacts from the pandemic and particularly to improve the local environment and address impacts on young people and inequalities.
Cllr Fiona Cross, Torfaen’s Executive Member for Children, Families and Communities, said: “Sensory play areas are particularly beneficial to children who have trouble with movement, vision and feel. This project will aid the physical and mental well-being of our young people, particularly for children with disabilities.”
Torfaen’s Autism Support Officer, Cheryl Deneen, said: “Play is an important part of a child’s development and provides the opportunity to develop social interaction and communication skills while having fun. Children with autism often find play challenging so inclusive play is something every child should have access to, irrespective of their individual needs. Our aim is for all children to have a positive play experience and not to feel excluded.”
Becky Driscoll from the TOGS Children’s centre in New Inn, said: “Having new inclusive play spaces in Torfaen will enhance the quality of play for all the children and young people. It will provide spaces that will allow children with disabilities and additional needs to play and interact with the world around them and have the same play opportunities as others.”
Cllr Amanda Owen, Exec member from Environment, said: “An audit of play facilities identified the borough is lacking in suitable play equipment for children with disabilities. Rather than spread pieces of equipment across the borough it has been agreed that a far bigger impact can be made by integrating specialist equipment into our popular play parks to help all children play together.
“We want this project to move swiftly so the next step is to engage young people, parents and disability groups ahead of agreeing a design in March. Once designed the council will order the equipment and we hope these fantastic facilities will be ready for use by the summer.”
The wider projects and budgets approved from the recovery fund were:
- £466,000 for town centre enhancements in Pontypool and Blaenavon
- £200,000 to help financial inclusion and discretionary housing payments to help those most in need with living costs
- £30,000 for improved assets on the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal and to engage community groups
- £70,000 to work with the Friends of Pontypool Park to repair and reopen the Shell Grotto and Folly visitor attractions
- £50,000 for small businesses and new start-up grants, focused on digital improvements
- £40,000 for additional free counselling services to young people aged 7-19 at the Cwmbran Centre for Young People
- £25,000 for youth and adult mental health first aid training courses
- £59,635 to start the process of developing a new floodlit all-weather community sports pitch in the north of the Borough.
A project manager will manage each project with some projects able to start immediately and others requiring planning and delivery within agreed timescales.