Schoolgirl’s wheel­chair swing plea

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

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

Photo: AN­DREA O’NEIL

Play­ing fair: Ti­tahi Bay girl Latisha Free­man­tle, 7, has made a video ar­gu­ing for a dis­abled swing at Aotea La­goon.

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