Hatherleigh’s community interest company Made-Well held a ribbon-cutting ceremony this week (March 5) to mark the official opening of the new inclusive play park.

In a monumental project costing over £90,000, Made-Well has transformed an area of less well-used land into a colourful play area, complete with wheelchair-accessible gym equipment, swing, seesaw and roundabout which is available for anyone to use.

Gary Jones from Made-Well, who helped to build the play park, said: “When we first started, we had the ducks and the chicken houses all here. So first of all, we had to pick them up and move them with the big machinery.

“Then the people that we support, the apprentices from our plumbing in the school, the animal teams and the maintenance teams all pitched in together to construct all of the fencing, to dig the holes and to help sort out the ground work. It was a very big project, but a very rewarding project for us all today.

“It is great to see the look on people’s faces when they’re going on the seesaw because they’ve never done that before. We have completely opened up Made-Well to everybody.”

The work was funded by John’s Charity, which granted £84,000 towards the project, the Barchester Foundation and Screw Fix, both of which donated £5,000.

Mike Saywell from John’s Charity, said: “John’s Charity was was set up to fund projects to help people with physical and mental disabilities. Made-Well just came up with this proposal for the accessible play area, and we thought it aligned really well with the aims of the charity. It was something that we wanted to fund, basically. It’s great that the money is turned into something tangible and real. It makes a really big difference to the people that come here and who are going to use this.

“It’s lovely that you can have such a big effect on people. And that’s Made-Well all over, They’ve made a real impact, made a difference to so many people and it’s great to be able to support them. That’s what it’s about - giving people those equal opportunities, no matter what your abilities are.”

There are already plans to expand the play park which will include the installation of a wheelchair-accessible sand pit, sensory boards and access to the traditional play area, where a new ground-level, wheelchair-accessible trampoline has been installed.

Made-Well’s facilities are fully accessible to all and also include the new Changing Places toilet (a toilet with an adult-sized changing bench with room for a carer).