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Campaign for more diasabled-friendly play areas launched in memory of brave nine-year-old

Disabled Child Reader

Written By: Warrington Guardian

LOVED ones of nine-year-old Brandon Barnes have rallied together following his tragic death last month to launch a campaign in his memory.

The popular youngster, who was diagnosed with West syndrome at 4 months old, is the inspiration behind the BAM Project which aims to raise awareness of the lack of facilities at play areas for children with disabilities.

It is hoped that by shinning a light on the issue will help to improve the current offering at parks in the town.

Mum of two Dani Woods from Latchford, who is the driving force behind the campaign, said she was shocked to discover that there was so little for children like Brandon during a play date at Victoria Park.

She said: “We had to stand underneath a tree with Brandon as there was nothing that he could access in his wheelchair.

“Even if we went to one of the other parks with the orange swings that he could have used his mum wouldn’t have been able to lift him.

“I asked his mum if there were any parks that he could play at nearby and she said none that she knew of – the nearest one that she knew of was in Manchester.”

Dani, aged 35, knew something needed to be done so immediately contacted a number of councillors.

But while she was waiting for a response, Brandon, who was known to many as Bam, died on June 12 at his home in Latchford.

She said: “I wish he had been able to play alongside the other kids.

“We want everybody to be able to play together on the same park regardless of their ability or the severity of their disability.

“He had such a short life it should be filled with precious and fun memories.

“Unfortunately there are lots of children up and down the country that this is happening to and are passing away at such a young age.

“How many of these have not had the opportunity to just play on a swing?”

The aim of the Bam Project is to get at least one piece of moving equipment and one piece of sensory musical equipment for each park.

A council spokesman said: “The council supports this campaign and welcomes any views about how we could further develop facilities across the town and further improve what is on offer to support children and young people with disabilities or special needs.

“The council currently operates the Woolston Sensory Centre, which is a purpose-built activity centre for disabled children and adults or those with special needs and more accessible facilities are now available at the Woolston Neighbourhood Hub which is just across the road.

“We have also redesigned and refurbished 22 playgrounds across the town. All of these were redesigned to be disability friendly and with full support and consultation of parents of children with disabilities and children themselves.”

Source: Warrington Guardian: http://www.warringtonguardian.co.uk/news/13368740.Campaign_for_more_diasabled_friendly_play_areas_launched_in_memory_of_brave_nine_year_old/

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