Fri, Oct 8, 2021 6:00 AM

Rosie’s accessible playground wish comes true

Rosie Riley with mum Annie, sister Izzy and Nelson Lions president Dave Pullen enjoying the new accessible carousel at the Lions Playground in Tāhunanui. Photo: Jonty Dine.

Jonty Dine

The joy was infectious as six-year-old Rosie Riley took her first ride on the new accessible carousel at the Lions Playground last week.

Rosie’s face lit up as mother Annie spun her and sister Izzy around.

The young girls were finally given the chance to play together at Tāhunanui Beach.

It has been a long journey for the Riley family who were saddened to learn that Rosie, who has cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair, had no equipment she could use at the playground.

“It was always hard to see the disappointment on Rosie’s face,” Annie says. “Izzy always wanted to come here to play but there was nothing here for Rosie.”

Thankfully, the Nelson Lions stepped up to help fund the accessible carousel.

The $17,000 needed for the instalment was funded by Nelson City Council, the Lions Club and a slew of local businesses.

The carousel is now complete, and Rosie enjoyed her first ride on Friday afternoon.

“It was so great to see,” says Annie.

Annie hopes any future projects will cater for people of all abilities.

“We don’t need to stop here, we need to keep everyone in mind when constructing new things.”

Annie says she was overwhelmed with the generous spirit of the Nelson small business community, which enabled the project to happen so quickly.

"It made it even more personal for us that it was Nelson businesses giving back to Nelson kids."

The current ‘Liberty Swing’ which has been out of commission for some time, is also now functioning again.

Group manager of community services Andrew White says the council is “committed to making our parks as accessible as possible”.

The Lions’ next project will see them raising funds for Mobi Rollout Matting which enables wheelchair access to the beach and sea.