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Not only is it important for their physical health and development, but by enabling children, young people and adults to interact together, a play area can truly unite a community. Of course, some children find it easier to engage with play areas than others. Consider a wheel chair user when faced with a traditional play park — or think about how a busy, brightly coloured and noisy space must feel for a child with Autism. At Inclusive Play our vision is to design, develop and manufacture quality products that enable children — no matter what their ability — to play together. We believe in the social model of disability. With this in mind, we strive to create completely unique products that punctuate, not define a play space, embracing the true meaning of inclusion.
Paul has held various senior management positions within the communications industry including two years on an international assignment as Sales Director & General Manager for Dealer Operations in Australia. During this time, Paul also worked as a consultant for Jupiter Play & Leisure working on strategy and business development. During this time Paul quickly realised there was a severe lack of provision in outdoor play spaces for children with special needs. This led to the creation of Inclusive Play in 2006 with the vision of designing play products that could be integrated into any play space for children of all abilities. Since then, Inclusive Play has developed a range of products which have been exported across the world. Paul took over as Managing Director of both Jupiter Play & Leisure and Inclusive Play in 2010, expanding the business across the UK and developing Inclusive Play’s International strategy. Still not satisfied that the industry was taking Inclusion seriously the Inclusive Play team got involved in a collaboration with the charity KIDS for disabled children and occupational therapists in UK and USA, to work on a design rational and checklist for inclusive Play areas. PiPA (Plan Inclusive Play Areas) was created and launched. The recommendations of PiPA have been adopted to become the UK benchmark. The UK government as well as the UK Design Council have endorsed PiPA as good practise for the design and provision of inclusion for outdoor play areas. The industry is now developing in maturity to recognise that accessible play and inclusive play are 2 very different things. Paul is supporting the industry make this transition to enable true inclusion and integration of our outdoor spaces. Paul transitioned out of Jupiter Play in 2018 to work exclusively for Inclusive Play. Developing the brand across the US, Europe, Middle East and Asia Pacific. Paul’s passion for inclusion goes back to a time when he was an international fencer, where Paul supported a wheelchair bound fencer realise physical barriers should not limit ambition. Paul improvised and conducted many training sessions sitting down. This fencer went on to compete at the Seoul Olympics! Paul himself had a very successful fencing career representing the UK at World Championship level and winning several Commonwealth medals.
2. Recent research in the UK and USA has shown that children living with Autism and other Sensory Processing Disorders are growing. In the UK over half of disabled children are classified as being on the Autism Spectrum. 3. Many children registered disabled do not live with just one impairment, but may have more complex needs. 4. The Sense Report Case for Play (2016) found that over 50% of disabled children are excluded from play opportunities. 5. The Equality Act 2010 replaced most of the Disability Discrimination Act however this still embodies many elements of the DDA Act 2004 which states that providers must take reasonable steps to remove or alter any features that make it impossible for disabled persons to access.
This is the driving force behind the design of Inclusive Play’s equipment and all the work that we do. Our play equipment is designed to be fun, intriguing, educational and accessible for all children. We create products that punctuate, not define, a play space embracing the true meaning of inclusion. It is our collaborative and consultative approach with key disability groups, organisations and charities in UK and the rest of Europe that has allowed us to fully understand why some children are faced with barriers to play. With these partnerships and on-going research we will continue to champion inclusive design. Want to know how to create an inclusive play area? Contact us to discuss our PiPA tool or take a look at our guidance on inclusive play area design.