A Bracknell mum says her daughter and other special needs children in the borough are being “excluded from socialising” because there is a lack of playgrounds suitable for disabled youngsters in the area.

Gemma Cooper is calling on the town council to build a new “life-changing” fun-space “specifically designed” for special needs children and adults.

A petition set up by Ms Cooper says: “I have a daughter who has Down's syndrome and a severe learning disability.

“I have noticed as she is getting older that there isn't an outside playground that she can actually play in.

“The baby swings are too small for her the big swings she isn't able to use.

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“We live near a park and she can't actually go on any of the equipment. As we walked passed I was sad to see her watching other children play and I feel she is being excluded from socialising.

“We need a secure outside playground that is specifically designed for disabled people that they can play and feel safe in.

“We don't have anything in Bracknell like this, and after speaking to other parents of special needs children we feel like this is something that our children desperately need.”

Latest available figures from the Office for National Statistics indicate there were almost 2,900 pupils with special educations needs in Bracknell Forest schools as of January 2019 — 13.8 per cent of the borough’s school population.

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This is a higher rate than in neighbouring authority Wokingham borough.

The petition has prompted a number of other parents of special needs children to share their experiences taking with the borough’s playgrounds.

Bracknell News:

Another local mum, Pip, who has two boys with autism, wrote: "I have to drive at least 25 minutes to go to a playground that is safe for my children.

“There are swings and smiles in Thatcham and in Maidenhead (both of which are amazing) but nothing suitable locally.

“The impact of a special needs playground would be life-changing.”

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Gemma’s petition, which can be found here The petition can be found here:

Another parent who signed the petition wrote: “My son is 12 and has Down’s syndrome.

“He is high-risk when out and would benefit greatly from a safe play area.”