Families encouraged to enjoy ‘Quiet Hour’ at People’s Park
A hushed one-hour slot especially for children who enjoy playing in quieter surroundings has been welcomed by families in Ballymena and the wider Mid and East Antrim area.
Council recently rolled out the ‘quiet hour’ initiative on a trial basis at the revamped multi-sensory and ability play area in People’s Park, Ballymena
During the dedicated times, Council works to ensure there is no noisy machinery near the park and all visitors are asked to keep sound levels to a minimum.
Council introduced the special slots in the knowledge that when busy, play parks can be overwhelming for some children within the borough.
Having enjoyed sessions with his young family, Mid and East Antrim councillor Matthew Armstrong – who also championed ‘quiet hour’ - said he was hopeful they would be delivered on a regular basis.
The dad-of-three, whose son Caleb is autistic, said: “I’m proud to sit on Council’s Autism Steering Group, and as an organisation I believe we are very much moving in the right direction when it comes to ensuring everybody in our Borough has equal opportunity and access to our services. We appreciate there is still work to do in this regard.
“For me, it’s all about ease of accessibility, and when it comes to play parks, for example, making those visits as stress-free and ultimately as fun and enjoyable as we can.
“The People’s Park is a jewel in the crown of Ballymena and Mid and East Antrim, and I am delighted that all our citizens can fully appreciate it and the fantastic offering it provides.
“Well done to those who have made the quiet hour initiative a success to date, and I look forward to it growing and similar sessions taking place elsewhere throughout our area.
“Thank you, also, to everyone who provided feedback to date. Taking that into account, we are now delighted to be trialling an after-school ‘quiet hour’ slot, from 3.30pm to 4.30pm.
“I will continue to push for a dedicated play area within Ballymena for children with different needs, and I look forward to that being realised.”
Council is working towards achieving Autism Friendly status in partnership with the Northern Health and Social Care Trust and Autism NI.
Dedicated ‘Autism Champions’ are busy drawing up plans to make Council’s leisure centres, visitor attractions and public spaces more inclusive to the additional needs of autistic children and adults, and their families and carers.