Oise: the sad failure of play areas adapted for disabled children

The inclusive playground with the theme The Little Prince was a little revolution in the world of disability. The first by Oise. Opened in October 2020 in the Parc de Bayser in Compiègne, it still attracts as many spectators as ever, but … more children with disabilities as it is designed for.

Because if these facilities, which are open to everyone, multiply – each new Compiègne area has an inclusive module, one opened in May 2021 in Lacroix-Saint-Ouen, it will have to be taken into use next week in Margny-lès-Compiègne – the latter are unfortunately victims of repeated inequalities.

To the point that Amal Moucharik, president of the Petit Prince Ali Association and initiator of the first area, who dreamed of a place where children, all different, would play together while giving up prejudice, no longer goes there.

Other users, “don’t care”

“I know other parents who have not been there for a long time,” she sighs. People do not read the signs where the principle is explained. When we go to them to talk to them about it, they do not care. The park ranger tried to intervene but nothing helped. »

Faced with users’ disrespect, the inclusive playground no longer has its primary purpose. In Compiègne, the redesigned swing that allows paraplegic children to swing has been removed. The same at the Lacroix-Saint-Ouen rest area.

“Yes, I saw the sign, but I did not read it correctly”

“It’s been 4 or 5 months since it was gone,” says Éliane, who takes her grandchildren to play there once a week. “Teenagers had taken it over and it became dangerous. They swung fast. The kids could no longer go there.”

Not to mention scooters and other bikes that “go in the dark”. “The gendarmes came by several times to reprimand the young people, but it was useless,” the pensioner laments. “We had to remove the swing, but it’s not normal,” admits Mayor (LR) Jean Desessart. The teenagers broke it quickly. We should put it back soon. “

La Croix Saint-Ouen, Saturday.  The playground opened in May 2021 and had items for children with disabilities.  The nest swing designed for children deprived of their mobility has been removed because many did not respect its original use.  (LP / Stephanie Forestier)
La Croix Saint-Ouen, Saturday. The playground opened in May 2021 and had items for children with disabilities. The nest swing designed for children deprived of their mobility has been removed because many did not respect its original use. (LP / Stephanie Forestier)

Do we need to communicate better? If an information panel in Compiègne presents what an inclusive playground is at the entrance, in Lacroix-Saint-Ouen, the latter is less visible. “Yes, I saw the sign, but I did not read it correctly. Including, I thought it meant it was as good for girls as it was for boys, ”reflects a mother who worries about watching a German Shepherd roam freely in the area.

The bouncer for wheelchairs acts as a springboard for scooters

And not sure that’s enough. In Compiègne, the jumping alley, which allows children in wheelchairs to enjoy the sensations of the trampoline, was quickly taken over by scooters. “They use it as a springboard,” comments Éliane, who has also tested Bayser Park. Sometimes you find cigarette butts there, it’s sad. »

Compiègne, Bayser Park, Saturday.  The ground was torn out in various places and the nest swing was also removed.  (LP / Stephanie Forestier)
Compiègne, Bayser Park, Saturday. The ground was torn out in various places and the nest swing was also removed. (LP / Stephanie Forestier)

Do inclusive playgrounds have a future? “I wonder, sighs Amal Moucharik. These nest swings are essential and yet they are removed. The problem is that the town halls do not talk enough about it. In Compiègne there was not even an inauguration … People do not know what it’s all about and do not bother to look. We, associations and parents of disabled children, can not be police every day. That’s a real disappointment. »

After all, other inclusive areas are planned in Noyon, Nogent-sur-Oise or Creil. Like Amal Moucharik back then, it is parents who dream of watching their children play like the others. Khadija Ait Baba Ali, President of Handinsertion, is at the forefront of Creillois and will ensure that information is passed on to users.

In Creil, Handinsertion still wants to try the experiment

“I believe in it! I want to go to the end! These feedbacks are beneficial. A panel is obviously not enough. When you enter a playground, the kids are busy, they do not have time for a sign. I want to see if we can mark the games with pictograms. Like the disabled places with the characters in wheelchairs. This can force people to respect the games more. “

In Margny, City Hall hopes the fences will prevent malicious acts. “Police will open and close the area to prevent it from deteriorating during the night,” confirms Bernard Hellal (Modem). We hope that will be enough. “Sports or fitness areas, it’s very complicated,” confirms Jean Desessart.

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