The city will gradually build or reconstruct playgrounds across the districts to provide children with special needs and their families with facilities where children can develop and play. The draft municipal budget for next year envisages nearly 1.6 million euros for the construction and renewal of playgrounds.
This makes it possible to construct or renew playgrounds and sports grounds and adapt family playgrounds to the requirements of children with special needs.
The project leader, Deputy Mayor Betina Beškina who coordinates the social and healthcare domain in Tallinn pointed out that a network of modern playgrounds is an essential element of urban environments that support the health and development of children and adults alike. “It goes without saying that modern playgrounds should include at least some elements for children with special needs,” explained Beškina. “We aim to ensure that playgrounds in each district offer diverse development and playing opportunities for all children regardless of their age or specific needs. Playing allows children to develop physically and psychologically by trying new things and testing themselves. It also develops their social skills that are essential for their future.”
According to Julia Stolberova, the Director of MTÜ Eriline Maailm (NGO Special World), the construction of playgrounds for children with special needs is a long-awaited initiative. “We consider it essential that there is a playground in the immediate vicinity of each child’s home where they can be with their families, and play and interact with other children. It also helps children develop the necessary communication skills and improve their stamina,” said Stolberova. “The construction of playgrounds where all children, regardless of their specific characteristics, can play together is yet another step towards enhancing cohesion in our community. I believe that it is an important element in developing a community and an environment that is unprejudiced and tolerant.”
Next year four playgrounds will be reconstructed in Nõmme and Haabersti and two family playgrounds in Lasnamäe. Each playground will have at least 1-2 elements that can be used by persons with special needs. Two new playgrounds will be developed in Pirita, and Lasnamäe will get a new family playground at Ümera tn 21b and a toddler playground in the green zone at Punane tn 17, plus a playground will be built in Mustamäe at Akadeemia tee 30. As for the Central District, the playground at Lastekodu tn 32 will be reconstructed and a new playground will be built in Tammsaare Park.
The family playground at Stroomi Beach will undergo extensive renovation. It will feature wheelchair access, various activity panels and elements that allow children to play together. The whole area will be covered with rubber panels to ensure access for all persons with impaired mobility. Additionally, the playground will feature some training equipment too.