Pioneering ropes course specifically aimed at disabled people to open next year.
People with a physical disability or mental illness frequently find themselves excluded from climbing activities, as many existing venues limit or prevent access due to the lack of 'suitable' ropes course layouts. However, things are about to change.
At Simia Forest High-Wire Course in the Dutch province of Gelderland has been selected as the location for the pilot project. Building work will commence in 2013. The park will be situated on the site of the "S Heeren Loo" a day care centre for people with mental impairment, a very deliberate choice of locality.
'Earlier in 2012, we were commissioned to build an outdoor climbing park by a Dutch-German consortium, explicitly asking for a design which would allow people with impairments to take part in a wide range of climbing activities,' Ewout Van Voorst, Managing Director of Skywalker Adventure Builders, explains. 'In close cooperation with Disability Sport experts, the plan is to develop and implement a unique and pioneering climbing course concept that suits everyone, including individuals with visual or hearing impairments, mental illnesses as well as wheel-chair users and people with a wide range of other disabilities.'
'It has always been our objective to actively promote social integration, ' Van Voorst continues. 'In this context, leisure activities are a very good starting point. Meeting in an exciting and challenging environment, completing tasks together and sharing the experience with each other afterwards is one of the backbones when it comes to furthering mutual understanding and respect between people.'
Frank Bookelmann, one of the experts involved in the project, adds: 'This aerial park has been especially designed with regard to individuals a disability. In this respect, our two main target groups are individuals who are capable of moving independently without aid and those who rely on the use of wheelchairs but are perfectly able to take part in climbing activities by using specially equipment, such as a special 'climbing' chair.'
Another key player of the current project is "Allemaal De Boom In", a Dutch organisation promoting the full inclusion of disabled people in all aspects of society by setting up a variety of initiatives, including opportunities to experience our natural environment in a different way.
Pictures are for illustration purposes only.
About Skywalker Adventure Builders:
Skywalker develops up-market concepts for outdoor activity sites and designs and builds Active Forest ECO high-wire forest parks, high ropes courses, adventure towers, outdoor playgrounds and adventure parks. Experience, innovative design, high quality, and the safety and durability of their products earmark Skywalker as one of the leading constructors of outdoor climbing facilities in Europe.