Butlin's Skypark: Brand-new £2.5m playground opens in time for Easter holidays
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TV personality and autism advocate Christine McGuinness launched Butlin’s Skypark yesterday at the Butlin’s holiday resort in Skegness.
She was diagnosed with autism during adulthood, aged 33 and is a mum to three children, Felicity, Leo and Penelope, who have all also been diagnosed with autism.
As an ambassador for the National Autistic Society, Christine is determined to raise awareness, and champion the benefits of encouraging children of all abilities to play together.
She said: “It’s fantastic to be involved in the launch of Butlin’s Skypark. I know first-hand just how important play is for all children, but to have an environment where kids of all abilities can play together is really special.
“Children with additional needs such as autism can often lack confidence and need that extra support when it comes to communication. It’s really encouraging to hear that nearly 70 per cent of UK parents are open to learning more about the additional needs some children have.
“By allowing kids to play and learn from each other, we’re helping to facilitate a better understanding for everyone.
“We know that taking part in regular exercise is great for all children’s cognitive development, and I’m really pleased to see Butlin’s taking the next steps in championing inclusivity by creating environments that allow children of all abilities to play together.”
The state-of-the-art playground is equipped with a wheelchair-accessible trampoline and roundabout, sit-up swings for support and sociability, and wheelchair-friendly walkways and ramps, to ensure no child is left on the side lines.
It features four climbing towers with the tallest standing at 14 metres high, offering an incredible panoramic sea view.
The site is also home to the UK’s longest interactive seesaw, at an impressive 24 metres long, and children and adults can work together to generate enough energy to light up the area.
Jon Hendry-Pickup, CEO at Butlin’s, said: “As the home of entertainment, we’re really proud to be able to offer a playground that’s designed to be truly inclusive for all families – with Butlin’s Skypark included in the price of a break.
“Launching Butlin’s Skypark is an incredibly proud moment for us as a business and it is the first of many exciting investments we’re making across our three resorts in the next few years.
“Our new playground provides a safe, stimulating place for children of all abilities to play together. We can’t wait to see families enjoying our incredible new playground this Easter and beyond.”
New national research reveals the majority of parents believe children with additional needs do not receive sufficient support, with three quarters (75 per cent) saying more should be done in this area.
Nearly seven in ten parents (69 per cent) would welcome the opportunity for them and their children to learn more about children’s additional needs – including physical and sensory impairments, learning disabilities and autism.
The research found that almost half of parents (44 per cent) have had to cut back on play opportunities for their children in the last 12 months due to financial concerns. With parents on average spending £100 (£94.31) per month on paid for activities, such as assault courses and soft play.