Littlehampton boy’s heartfelt letter leads to disabled-friendly park triumph

A Littlehampton park is getting a disability and autism-friendly makeover after a boy made his voice heard.

When Lloyd Parvin-Blackstone from Thorncroft Road, Littlehampton, visited the newly-renovated play area in Mill Road, Arundel, he was disappointed it had become less accessible for autistic children like himself, who enjoy sensory stimulation.

So last August, he wrote to Littlehampton Town Council asking them to bear in mind the differently-abled in future designs.

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The 11-year-old said: “Parks are important for kids to socialize, especially if you don’t go to school, find school tricky like me or your school is far away.

Lloyd Parvin-Blackstone at Rosemead Park, Littlehampton, where the play area is currently being upgraded

“Some of my friends have epilepsy, others have autism; some of my friends have wheelchairs or hearing aids.

“I would like a park where we can all play, with a slide, swing and sensory things that everyone can use, even in their wheelchair.

“I think parks should be for everyone, the disabled and abled. We like playing together.”

Jo Price was among the councillors who received the letter. She said: “It hit my heartstrings as I have an autistic step-son.

“How lovely for this boy to take the time to try and make a difference in his community.”

Jo made it her personal mission to honour Lloyd’s request. The renovation of Rosemead Park was at the top of the council’s priorities for a while – so with the help of other councillors, Jo made sure the plans included a sensory path.

Lloyd’s mother Anchorette said their actions touched her son: “He has spent his whole school life being told no; he is now at his fourth school, which is brilliant. So to be listened to, and told what he is saying is interesting, means the world.”

The park is set to be reopened soon.