MORE than £250,000 will be invested to add inclusive sensory play equipment to two parks in Torfaen.

Pontypool Park and Cwmbran Boating Lake will see the new equipment added, Torfaen council has announced.

“Sensory play areas are particularly beneficial to children who have trouble with movement, vision and feel,” said Cllr Fiona Cross, Torfaen’s executive member for children, families and communities.

“This project will aid the physical and mental well-being of our young people, particularly for children with disabilities.”

South Wales Argus: Cwmbran Boating Lake will see new sensory play equipment added. Picture: Camera Club member Marie Coombes.Cwmbran Boating Lake will see new sensory play equipment added. Picture: Camera Club member Marie Coombes.

Torfaen’s autism support officer, Cheryl Deneen, said: “Play is an important part of a child’s development and provides the opportunity to develop social interaction and communication skills while having fun.

“Children with autism often find play challenging so inclusive play is something every child should have access to, irrespective of their individual needs.

“Our aim is for all children to have a positive play experience and not to feel excluded.”

Cllr Amanda Owen, executive member from environment, said: “Rather than spread pieces of equipment across the borough it has been agreed that a far bigger impact can be made by integrating specialist equipment into our popular play parks to help all children play together.

“We want this project to move swiftly so the next step is to engage young people, parents and disability groups ahead of agreeing a design in March.

“Once designed the council will order the equipment and we hope these fantastic facilities will be ready for use by the summer.”

South Wales Argus: Pontypool Park, taken by Camera Club member Sarah Williams.Pontypool Park, taken by Camera Club member Sarah Williams.

The project is part of £1.2 million in funding across the local authority approved by the cabinet to help the community recover from the impacts of Covid.

This also includes £466,000 for town centre enhancements in Pontypool and Blaenavon, £70,000 to work with the Friends of Pontypool Park to repair and reopen the Shell Grotto and Folly visitor attractions, £50,000 for small businesses and new start-up grants, and £40,000 for additional free counselling services to young people aged 7-19 at the Cwmbran Centre for Young People.