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Play area a 'dream come true'

Charity opens special needs equipment at its Thatcham home

Play area a 'dream come true'

CHILDREN with special needs and their families have a new place to play in Thatcham after a local charity realised its dream.

Swings & Smiles has installed new play equipment at its base in the former children’s centre in Lower Way. 

Children can enjoy the new kit, which includes fully-accessible swings, a mini-golf course, in-ground trampoline and a slide with a ramp for all children to access. 

Climbing frames, a picnic area and interactive outdoor sensory equipment have also been in installed.

Charity director Laura Lewis said: “We are very excited to have been able to finally open an outdoor area to go with all of the facilities we have at our centre in Thatcham. 

“All of this fabulous equipment is installed so that families with special needs children can play in a safe and secure environment.”

The charity has also had funding for a large den for the exclusive use of siblings who attend Swings & Smiles for them to use.

Families also have access to the charity’s indoor facilities, including a personal care room, so that they can go and play knowing that their needs can be met.

Swings & Smiles, founded in 2007, opened at the Phoenix Centre in Newbury in the summer of 2014 to provide a specialist, fully-resourced recreational facility for families of children with learning difficulties and disabilities.

Since then, more than 400 families have registered to play there.

The charity has been hunting for a permanent home since it was founded and moved into Lower Way last year. 

Mrs Lewis said: “We are totally thrilled that we can now offer this additional element of play to all children with special needs and their families.

“To have an accessible playground has been a dream of Swings & Smiles for over 10 years and to make it a reality is really very special. 

“We would also like to thank the many people who have helped to make this happen.”

Families interested in going to play at Swings & Smiles can call (01635) 285170 or visit for more information.

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Article comments

  • NewburyLad

    15/04/2018 - 10:12

    Please make sure there's a lot of hidden CCTV in the place and nearby - because you know one day it will get vandalised by some brainless yobs and afterwards no one will have a clue who they were.