Cyprus Mail

President inaugurates park for children with disabilities

ΠτΔ – Εγκαίνια του πάρκου «Αγάπης
President Nicos Anastasiades, inaugurates the "Love and Equal Opportunities" park, for children with special abilities.

Cooperation between local authorities and the government promotes projects for the benefit of society, said President Nicos Anastasiades at the inauguration of the new Yeri park for children with disabilities.

The president congratulated the mayor of Yeri and the city council for the creation of the park, which is “the result of the council’s special sensitivity, will and determination to create the necessary infrastructure to promote accessibility and participation of children with disabilities in public spaces.”

Anastasiades then referred to the government’s efforts to build a “real, inclusive welfare state”. He referred to the formulation of a holistic policy by the labour ministry and the establishment of the deputy ministry of social welfare, to which the department of social integration of persons with disabilities will be transferred.

As regards specific actions of the targeted policy implemented by the government, he mentioned the establishment of three Disability Assessment Centres to address duplication and distortions in the whole process of assessing their problems. He said assessments were carried out for 20,000 persons with disabilities, “with those affected being able for the first time to receive a comprehensive disability assessment report, ensuring they receive the social benefits and services they are entitled to from the State.”

He also mentioned the adoption of the New Disability Assessment System, whose expenditure for the 2014-2020 period amounted to €4 million, while its budget for 2021-2027 amounts to €10.5 million.

The government also created 11 independent living houses where people with disabilities have access to care, education, sports, entertainment and socialisation services, Anastasiades said, adding the construction of five new houses was also launched.

The first centre for autism family support and intervention was also opened for the first time, the president noted, which provides psychosocial support and education services to preschool children on the autism spectrum and their families, both in-house nationwide and at the centre’s premises.

Finally, the President referred to the rationalization of the benefit policy to meet the needs of persons with disabilities and the preparation of the First National Disability Strategy for the period 2018-2028 and the Third National Disability Action Plan 2018-2020, which include 135 actions implemented by eight ministries and three deputy ministries.

But the most important plan is the Cyprus-Tomorrow scheme which provides for the implementation of eight ambitious actions worth €90 million. These are expected to give “a significant boost and dynamic continuation to our plans, for the benefit of more than 26,000 persons with disabilities and more than 400 persons with autism”, Anastasiades said.

In his turn, Yeri mayor, Neophytos Papalazarou, said that the aim of the creation of the park is to become a true “park of love and equal opportunities”. He also made special mention of Kiki Lazaridis, who donated €100,000 for the creation of the park and to whom a plaque was awarded, as well as to others who contributed to the implementation of the project.

The park is located west of Athalassa Avenue, near the Evangelismos special school. It is divided into three parts, including a parking area, a play area and toilets, and a canteen is expected to be opened in the future. Seven games for the disabled have been installed, while in a second phase games for wheelchair users will be added.

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