Naikia Taylor of Goonellabah was first to ride the Liberty Swing at Nesbitt Park in South Lismore. She is helped by Bruce Taylor of Byron Bay and Trevor Watts of Mullumbimby from Variety.
Naikia Taylor of Goonellabah was first to ride the Liberty Swing at Nesbitt Park in South Lismore. She is helped by Bruce Taylor of Byron Bay and Trevor Watts of Mullumbimby from Variety.

Swing for disabled gives freedom

YOUNG children who had never before felt the excitement of sitting on a swing in a park due to disabilities yesterday did just that as they sat in a specially designed swing at South Lismore.

"It's one of life's simpler pleasures, feeling the weightlessness and swinging back and forth," said Bruce Taylor, a volunteer fundraiser with the Byron branch of the children's charity Variety, which contributed $10,000 to make the project happen.

"When I saw the first of these swings come out I couldn't believe it," Mr Taylor said.

"I saw the first kids have a ride of it. They just lit up like a Christmas tree and Variety said: 'We've got to get involved with this'.

"We've been working our way around New South Wales. We've got one in Ballina and we hope to get one in Byron Shire."

The special swing in Nesbitt Park was a joint project with Lismore City Council and part of a major upgrade of the park for all users.

Variety contributed $10,000 to the $25,000 swing, with the council making up the shortfall along with an additional $35,000 for soft surrounds, fencing and wheel chair-accessible paths.

Mr Taylor officially opened the swing, which accommodates wheelchairs, with Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell and Federal Page MPJanelle Saffin, whose government helped fund a nearby running track and upgraded car park.

The swing replaces one which was vandalised before it could be opened in a destructive act that Cr Dowell said outraged the South Lismore community.

While allowing children to experience the fun, Variety says the swinging action is therapeutic.



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