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Special guest Davy Fitgerald cuts the ribbon at the official opening of Broadford playground alongside students Cillian Doyle, Amber Alloway, Lily Duffy and Sean O'Brien

GALLERY: Davy Fitz opens new Broadford sensory playground


RECREATIONAL facilities in Broadford have received a major boost thanks to the provision of a new sensory playground costing an estimated €105,000, writes Dan Danaher.

While the main beneficiaries will be children at Broadford and Kilbane National School, it can also be used by the local community outside school hours.

With six children with Autism in a special class, this playground facilitates the sensory processing needs of student in the ASD unit and others who have issues in mainstream classes.

Up to €30,000 was raised locally by parents and the local community, apart from a €10,000 donation from EI Electronics Shannon, managing director, Mick Guinee.

In the region of 75% of the money came from the school’s own finances. It is located next to the astro turf facility that cost €85,000 two years ago that was funded through a Chlár grant and €30,000 from the board of management.

Principal Aonghus O’Brien described the new facilities that at the disposal of 120 school children as “magical”.

“The new playground is great for the school and the local community. There are a lot of things happening in Broadford over the last ten years. There is massive potential in Broadford to develop walking trails and other new facilities.

“I hope this playground will help kick-start more positive developments for the parish. There is great spirit in Broadford. While losing the post office was disappointing, it will not stop the development of the village.”

Former Clare and Wexford manager, Davy Fitzgerald cut the ribbon with the help of four children. Davy said it is very important to have places for young people to play and enjoy themselves.

“It is so important to have exercise in the fresh air. The community have done great work and this playground tops it off.

“We need more of these brilliant facilities. It is great for the kids. Once the playground was opened, the children tore into it.

“I think we underestimate the importance of exercise from a mental wellbeing. I would encourage parents and schools to embrace exercise. I often say to kids you don’t have to be brilliant at everything, just go out and do some exercise and you will feel better.”

“It is great to have so many facilities – the school yard, astro turf, new playground, GAA field and handball alley so close to the school. I think this will help Broadford GA A to go from strength to strength.”

Community activist, P J Mason said it is great to see so many sporting and recreational facilities situated in the one area close to the river bank walk.

“The new playground is a very safe place to play for children. It is a great tribute to Aonghus O’Brien, the school board of management and parents. This fills a void that was there. The provision of sensory facilities are an added dimension.

Describing the new playground as a “fantastic facility”, Broadford Development Association chairperson, Mary Bourke, said parents can purchase refreshments in the local shop and keep an eye on their children playing in the sensory playground.

“It is important to keep young children active. It is a great to the school. Small villages can often be overlooked when it comes to new facilities.”
Councillor Joe Cooney said what has been achieved by the school, staff, board of management and local community in incredible for the parish.

“This takes a lot of time and effort to undertake fundraising and get grants. What has been achieved is brilliant for Broadford parish. They are very lucky to have all their sporting and recreational facilities in the one catchment area.”

Parent, Lourda Doyle said the new playground will provide vital movement and sensory breaks for children in the ASD class.

“It is fantastic to see the new playground coming to fruition after all the fundraising in recent years.”

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