A PAIR of wheelchair-friendly benches have been installed in Shirley Park after a long wait.
Craftsmen from Newlands Bishop Farm have been working tirelessly over the past two years, when their workshop has been open, to create the benches alongside Friends of Shirley Park (FoSP).
In 2019 the friends group were awarded funds from the Community Infrastructure Levy to design, commission and install six new accessible benches across the park.
So they teamed up with the Newlands Bishop Farm, which gives people with learning disabilities and mental health conditions the opportunity to learn work-based skills, once again to turn their ideas into reality.
The octagonal benches are designed to accommodate wheelchair uses and buggies.
Previously the two have worked together to create and install seven planters across the park in 2018.
Helena Morrissey, chair at FoSP, said: “There are already a couple of picnic benches in the play area, but these are traditional rectangular benches which do not accommodate wheelchairs or pushchairs.
“As part of our aim to make the park as accessible as possible we wanted to install some wheelchair-friendly benches, as well as some other additional benches to encourage families to visit the park and to increase footfall.
“This has a very beneficial impact on anti-social behaviour.”
To Helena’s delight the team at Newlands Bishop Farm have not only made the six benches but have also created a children’s bench from the off-cuts.
She added: “The first two have now been installed, both with the help of Solihull Council and of Newlands Bishop who sent across some of the young lads who helped to build them.
“Their pride in seeing their work being placed in the park was a true delight to witnesses.
“And seeing the benches finally being installed was such a heartwarming moment. It makes all our hard work behind the scenes to improve the park worth it.
“We can’t wait for the other four benches to be delivered in the spring.”