Disability swings have been installed in two Thanet parks – with more to come

Two disability swings have been installed in Thanet parks – with more to come.

The equipment was put in place in Crispe Park, Birchington, and Lymington park in Westgate last week and more are planned for Minnis Bay, Broadstairs and Ramsgate.

They are due to the efforts of ward councillor Suzanne Brimm who is on a mission to have disability equipment in every park on the isle.

One of the first youngsters to try out the Westgate swing was Connor Olsen.

Seven-year-old Connor was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) in March 2013.
DMD is a muscle wasting disease that means Connor will be in a full time power wheelchair by around 10 years old. The condition, which is caused by a gene defect,  means a life expectancy of about 20 years.
DMD is caused by a defect occurring in his gene.
Connor is unaware of his illness and parents Georgina and Wayne, from Westgate, are aiming to keep that as the case so the youngster can enjoy as much as possible in the time he has.

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There is no known cure for DMD but the Olsen’s have created the Caring for Connor campaign which fundraises both to help pay for Connor’s quality of life but also for research into the condition and possible cures.

DMD affects about one in 5,000 boys.

The condition means Connor suffers muscle weakness and is not able to use bigger swings but is too old for the baby swings.

Mum Georgina said: “We know many children in and around Westgate that absolutely love going to the park, some of which have disabilities. Our local park doesn’t have accessible equipment, probably like a lot of parks around but  that has now changed a little. After discussions with the very kind Councillor Suzanne Brimm a couple of weeks ago she managed to get a specialist swing installed.

‘Inclusion is very important’

“All parks should have equipment for every child, every child should be able to enjoy what they love for as long as they possibly can even with a disability. Inclusion is very important in every way! Connor is losing abilities and strength due to Duchenne and is too big for the baby swings so this swing is perfect for him.

“We met up with the Cllr Brimm at the park on Wednesday (March 15) to try out the new swing and also bumped into little Vinnie and his mum,

“Vinnie also has a disability so will benefit hugely from it too. Looking at these two little boys faces you could see the swing made their day.”

Cllr Brimm said: “It was an absolute pleasure to see how much these swings are appreciated by local children. I aim to have one installed in every park in Thanet and then will move on, providing more inclusive equipment in the future as children with disabilities rightly deserve this.”