New ‘relaxed sessions' at Splashpad for children with additional needs

A visit to Victoria Park Splashpad on a sunny day will be high on the wish list of many children this summer, but for some children with additional needs the sheer popularity of the facility has, until now, made it difficult to enjoy.

From next Wednesday (6thJuly) an hour every Wednesday will be run as an inclusive, ‘relaxed session' so that children with additional needs, who would benefit from a quieter environment and reduced numbers, can enjoy the 33 exciting water features, which include jets, sprays, tunnels and a tipping water bucket.

During term-time, the ‘relaxed sessions' will run every Wednesday from 11am to midday. During the school holidays the new sessions will run every Wednesday from 10am-11am.

Cabinet Member for Parks, Culture and Events, Cllr Jennifer Burke-Davies said: "Parks are for everyone, and we want them to be as inclusive and accessible as possible. The Splashpad was designed with that in mind, but as its popularity has grown, it has become more difficult for children with additional needs to enjoy fully. Making Cardiff a Child-Friendly City is one of our priorities, and these new quieter Splashpad sessions will allow many more children to enjoy the simple pleasure of play."

Local resident, Amy, whose ten-year-old son uses a wheelchair, said: "The splashpad is something that really appeals to children with additional needs because it's flat and the kids love the water, so it's great that the council is able to start doing this.

"My son loves the splashpad, but it can be really busy and really popular. If you're a wheelchair user and you've got little ones running around, it can be quite difficult to manoeuvre, so these relaxed sessions will just give him a bit more space, so it's not so overwhelming for children with additional needs really. My son isn't autistic but for lots of children who are autistic, the noise and the busyness can be overwhelming, so I think the quieter sessions will just be more enjoyable.

"As a parent, I just feel you'll be more comfortable in these new sessions, being in there with other parents who perhaps understand your child's needs."

The Splashpad is accessible for wheelchairs, and accessible toilet facilities are available on site. An aqua chair is available from staff if required.