Schoolgirl’s wheelchair swing plea
A big-hearted Titahi Bay girl wants children in wheelchairs to enjoy Aotea Lagoon playground as much as she does.
Latisha Freemantle, 7, was inspired on her mission by the wheelchair swing at Island Bay’s Shorland Park. The swing can hold a whole wheelchair, and is the only one of its kind in Wellington.
Last month Latisha and her family made a video pleading her case to mayor Nick Leggett.
‘‘ I really like swinging on the swings at the playground, so I was wondering why differently abled people can’t have a turn,’’ she said in her video.
‘‘I want there to be a wheelchair swing at Aotea Lagoon and I think here is a good place because it’s right next to the other playground.’’
Latisha said the thought of children being unable to swing made her sad and angry. ‘‘It’s not very fair.’’ Her grandmother Pearl Freemantle said the idea for the video was entirely Latisha’s.
‘‘All of this has come totally from Latisha. I feel ashamed that I never even thought of it. It was Latisha who opened our eyes,’’ she said.
‘‘ She is extremely caring and thoughtful.’’
Latisha’s video has gained 300 views on YouTube and has led to her speaking at a disability conference in Wellington and to Plimmerton Rotary.
Mr Leggett said Latisha’s idea was a good one, and should be included in next year’s Annual Plan deliberations.
‘‘There are a significant number of people with physical disabilities and we need to consider them when planning our parks,’’ he said.
Mr Leggett was particularly impressed by Latisha’s innovation in creating a video submission.
‘‘It’s a good example of how kids can tell us what they want,’’ he said.
‘‘I’ve asked that we allow video clips and social media as a means to make submissions to our planning and consultations.’’
To watch Latisha’s youtube. com and search swing Porirua’’. video visit ‘‘ Wheelchair
Playing fair: Titahi Bay girl Latisha Freemantle, 7, has made a video arguing for a disabled swing at Aotea Lagoon.