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Big news and a regular dose of magical inspiration for family days out at Stockeld Park!

Stockeld’s journey towards greater accessibility & inclusion

How we are looking to increase accessibility across the Park for our disabled guests. We are on a journey…

“I think we just have to accept that we can’t make everything disabled friendly”.

I’m sure you’ve encountered sentiments like this at some time or other.

For a long time, this was the attitude that encapsulated the seemingly daunting task of increasing accessibility at places like Stockeld: an ‘all or nothing’ approach that because you cannot possibly redesign every piece of equipment to be accessible, you might as well accept there’s little point doing any of it.

Either that, or “it’s now possible to get from A to B in a wheelchair, so we are now accessible”.

At Stockeld Park, we are on a journey to become more accessible to our disabled guests. We have come a long way, but without becoming too clichéd, recognise there is still a long way to go.

Needless to say, we recognise that neither of the above sentiments are especially helpful!

To be accessible does not mean making every single play-piece accessible to disabled guests, an impossible task, not least because of the very different spectrum of disabilities that exist, both invisible as well as visible.

But nor does it mean just making it possible for disabled guests to get from A to B around the Park. It’s not much point being able to access an area if there is nothing to do when you get there!

Rather, our ethos at Stockeld is to ensure that every play area across the Park has something in it for disabled guests to enjoy. We want this not only for the benefit of disabled guests themselves, but also so that parents or guardians visiting the Park with an able-bodied as well disabled child, are able to watch-over both in the same play area at the same time.

As mentioned, this is a journey for Stockeld and we are not there yet. We have already made changes to several pieces of play equipment both in the new Playhive and in the Enchanted Forest, but there is more we are looking to do.

We have also now completed tarmacking the walking path round the Enchanted Forest, a 1.2km trail, as well as all the paths in the Magical Maze, a major undertaking that should be to the benefit of all our visitors and certainly make navigating the Park with wheelchairs or prams a great deal easier.

We also recognise that increasing accessibility involves increasing communication, both with you, our guests, as well as internally amongst our staff. We are presently working closely with a fully-qualified nurse consultant to develop a staged plan to increase our accessibility at Stockeld, and to better train our staff to constructively assist when you arrive.

Please do take a look at our Accessibility & Inclusion page on our website for more information and we look forward to seeing you here at Stockeld soon.

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