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(UK) NI: Carnfunnock Co Park opens "autism-friendly" "inclusive " "sensory area"

Oct 23, 2023, Northern Ireland World: Carnfunnock Country Park opens new sensory area

The design of the area was developed in consultation with local user groups to create a space within the park to stimulate the senses, while also providing a calm haven for all to enjoy.

A wide range of equipment has been installed suitable for children of all ages and abilities, as well as new accessible pathways and a picnic bench.

Bringing together selected trees, musical instruments, landscape features and a flowing walkway, the council has created an area in which visitors are encouraged to use all their senses through sound, water, air, wildlife and the texture of the trees.

The sensory area is just one part of a bigger initiative working towards creating an Autism Friendly Borough.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna, said: “I am thrilled to see the new sensory area opening at Carnfunnock Country Park - this has been a much sought after area for many families and is a fantastic addition to the park. I hope the new sensory area will encourage families, schools and community groups with sensory needs to visit and enjoy together.

“We want our open spaces to be enjoyed by everyone and developments like this play an important part in doing that.”

The new sensory area was funded by the Department for Communities via the Access and Inclusion Programme which aims to promote a more inclusive society by enabling people with disabilities to fully participate in arts, cultural and active recreation activities.

Some £30,000 was awarded by the Department through this fund which supported the project through the purchase of accessible and inclusive equipment, with Mid and East Antrim Borough Council contributing an additional £3,000.

In 2021, Mid and East Antrim Council outlined plans to make leisure centres, visitor attractions and public spaces in the borough more inclusive to the additional needs of autistic children and adults.

In addition to work on individual sites, several staff across various council departments also took part in Autism Impact Award training in conjunction with Autism NI.


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