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Tomís park and slide strategy is brought to Council Chairperson

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Tomís park and slide strategy is brought to Council Chairperson thumbnail

CABRA schoolboy Tom Smyth is hoping the council's 'park and slide' strategy is on point after lobbying to Newry, Mourne and Down Chairperson Mark Murnin for a play-park in the village.
The eight-year-old activist long lamented to his mother Christine about the fact that Cabra didn't have a recreational play facility for the community.
So, on his own volition and with Christine's encouragement, Tom decided to write a letter to the council imploring them to consider a play-park for the area.
In the meantime, Tom decided to conduct his own feasibility study and canvass and lobby for residential approval.
This led to the precocious St Paul's PS pupil presenting his findings to council Chairperson Mr Murnin on Tuesday in the Cabra school's assembly hall.
Explaining how it all came about, Christine said: "Tom was asking me to take him and his brother and sister to the park one day. He said to me, 'Mummy, I wish there was a park in Cabra'.
“So I then started to tell him that there used to be a park in Cabra that we used to all play in, so that's how it all came about."
Tom then asked if he could write to the council about reinstating a park in the village, and of course Christine obliged.
“I let him at it, and he took off himself," she said.
“He created a wee petition which he took into school and got all his classmates to sign."
Wanting any prospective park to be as inclusive as possible for young and old alike, Tom conscientiously conducted a survey amongst the neighbours to make sure that it got their approval, and was delighted with their unanimous, all-approving response.
“It went really well, he talked about the benefits of a shared play and community area for people to meet up and for there to be benches for elderly people," said Christine.
“Tom went and had a chat with the residents and asked if they'd like to see a park back. They just though that it would be brilliant to have it back.
“He proposed that it's not to be just a play area for children, but somewhere that everyone could use, something to bring the community together for events and stuff. We've a wee hall beside the chapel but we've nothing outdoor.
“At the end of Tom's presentation he had a slide that said: 'Now over to you, Mr Chairman', and he had some questions for as to how achievable he thought it was and what sort of play strategy did the council have."
Speaking to the Democrat, Tom said that he felt that there needed to be a place for everyone to come together, but freely admitted to being slightly nervous before addressing Mr Murnin.
“I was a bit nervous before the presentation, but when I talked to him I was just saying that we could maybe get a few wee pieces of equipment and maybe a few benches," said Tom.
“ I think if we could get some swings, a slide, a roundabout and we could put wee bars around the roundabout because they can be dangerous, children can fall off them."
He concluded by adding that he enjoyed engaging with and canvassing to his neighbours.
“The neighbours agreed to it and there's a man Patsy Gribben, who said 'As long as there's a slide'," Tom laughed.

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