Million dollar playground

Rotary clubs come together to build facility

A near $1 million playground facility is in the making for children in Barbados.

The Rotary Clubs of Barbados West and South have joined forces to construct the playground facility –– Inclusive Play –– along with a two-storey building in Wildey, St Michael, opposite the Astroturf.

During a tour of the location today, officials said they expected all arrangements to be in place in less than two months when construction would begin. Once started the project should last for about eight months to a year.

Student Dion Ellyatt making a presentation to District Governor Elwin Atmodimedjo following a tour of the school house while his wife Maureene looks on.
Student Dion Ellyatt making a presentation to District Governor Elwin Atmodimedjo following a tour of the school house while his wife Maureene looks on.

Funding is already in place and the officials said they were only waiting on the government to sign off on the lease arrangement for the land. Permission to build has also been granted by the Town and Country Planning Department.

“The purpose of this project is to develop a playground facility to allow children who are physically challenged as well as children who are without challenges, to play together. We have partnered with a number of persons throughout the island including various businesses and individuals,” said president of the Rotary Club of Barbados South Richard Kennedy.

“There will be a playground that will appeal to the different senses. So if the person is blind they will have things with sound to use, and to touch if you are deaf, and there will be visual stuff as well. So it will really appeal to the senses of those persons who have challenges in those areas,” added Kennedy.

The building, he said, would have accommodations for several activities including rentals for therapy as well as an open space for training sessions for children who have various challenges, among other things.

Meanwhile, president for Rotary Club of Barbados West Horace Cobham explained that while “the actual cash” to be spent would be “in excess of $850,000”, other costs would be covered by voluntary work and donations of various materials.

“That cash has already been raised. It has been raised through separate efforts . . . . The major source of our contribution to that funding has been through our annual golf classic, which is strongly supported by our sponsors Sandy Lane Hotel and Diamonds International, as well as all those other people who come out and support us,” said Cobham.

“This is a very important project for us because it will literally bring together, the able and less able children to help them play and learn together so that the sort of divide that tends to occur between the able and less able is displaced and the children can learn and enjoy each other’s company,” Cobham added.

And while a trust has been set up that will play an integral role in the operations of the facility, Cobham said they were still examining some possibilities in relation to the maintenance of the facility.

District governor for Rotary Clubs of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, Barbados and the three Guyanas Elwin Atmodimedjo and his wife Maureene were also on the tour.

The district governor said he was impressed with the work that was taking place in Barbados by the Rotary Clubs, adding that he believed the playground would be “an enrichment for the community as well as for Barbados”.

They also toured the current location of the School House for Special Needs as well as its future site in Brittons Hill. The 18 students of that institution are expected to take up residence at their new education facility the first week of next month, which officials said would give them the opportunity to take in more students.

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