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Coronation Park in Crosby to stage Romeo & Juliet to help improve facilities for kids

7 days ago

Coronation Park in Crosby to stage Romeo & Juliet to help improve facilities for kids

A campaign to improve children’s play facilities in Crosby takes another step forward this Saturday when Romeo and Juliet is staged in the town’s Coronation Park.

The award-winning Illyria Outdoor Theatre company, which has performed before audiences across Europe, is bringing the classic Shakespearean tale to Crosby.

The show is part of a fundraising effort that seeks to improve young children’s play facilities in the park and make it more accessible for disabled children.  Proceeds from ticket sales will go directly towards new play equipment in Coronation Park. 

Inspired by childhood memories in her community’s park, local Crosby parent, Hannah Duffy, joined the volunteer group, Friends of Alexandra and Coronation Park, to create a playground fundraising project. “We are so proud and excited to be bringing Romeo and Juliet to Coronation Park and are hoping local people come out and support this fantastic event,” she said.

Buying and installing specialist playground equipment is not inexpensive and the campaign seeks to raise £250,000. It has already delivered one round of park improvements totalling £50,000 thanks to support from a number of local businesses and a donation from Blundellsands Councillors, which was match funded by Green Sefton, part of Sefton Council. Other fundraising activities and grants have help pull in funds towards. The funds have been used for a new wheelchair-friendly roundabout, a new climbing frame, and inclusive swing seat (high backed), two spinners and safe, bright flooring. 

Phase Two of the fundraising is directed towards more inclusive play equipment including a wheelchair friendly trampoline, further safe flooring, and more equipment for older children and teenagers.

Hannah, who takes pride in living in Crosby all her life, remarks on her push for change: “This was where I played as a child, and now a space I bring my children. It lacked equipment generally, the surface was slippy, but most importantly it didn’t offer anything for children with additional needs.

“We could continue to complain that not enough was being done or we could have a sense of community ownership and try and do something about it ourselves.”

One of the local parents backing the campaign, Anna, who has a seven-year-old daughter, said: “My daughter has severe disabilities and is profoundly affected both physically and cognitively. She needs help with practically every aspect of life and will do for as long as she’s with us. Until recently, there wasn’t a single piece of play equipment that she could use locally which meant our often long days were spent mainly at home, isolated from others.  

“Most of us can recall a playground experience from our childhood. Making a friend, feeling the swoosh of a swing pushed by a sibling, bravely climbing up a slide and feeling the thrill of landing at the bottom. Parks give us the chance to build skills, spend time outdoors and create precious memories with and for our children – they’re vital. 

“My daughter’s childhood is precious. We don’t know what the future holds and therefore every opportunity to make memories with and for her is of utmost importance.

“Previously she wasn’t able to play alongside her friends, family members and other children. When we passed through the park as it was before, she would become excited seeing other children sliding and swinging and hearing their squeals. It broke our hearts that that’s what she thought parks were for – to enjoy watching others play, and not to join in herself. 

“Thanks to the amazing efforts of this campaign, we have been delighted with the new wheelchair accessible roundabout that’s been installed as part of the first phase.  It has meant that instead of being stuck indoors we have somewhere to walk to, with intention, that Iris can enjoy. This has already impacted our days and our family’s wellbeing in such a positive way.”

Anna also pointed out that more inclusive playgrounds benefit everyone. “They also give more able children daily opportunities to learn tolerance and understanding. Seeing disabled children in play spaces teaches children early on that there are different people in the world, and that they’re valuable members of our society. The more inclusive the equipment we can see, the better for everyone.”

To get involved this weekend and book your tickets, visit www.illyria.co.uk. For more information on the Coronation Park Playground Project, contact Hannah Duffy at coronationplayarea@gmail.com.

Get the best days out, attractions and more for summer holidays in Liverpool City Region HERE.

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