Special playing field at Arka Foundation

A special playing field funded entirely by the Vodafone Malta Foundation was inaugurated at the Arka Foundation's Respite Centre, in Gozo. The new playing field will complement the therapeutic facilities being offered at this centre to persons with special needs.

Back in 2007, the Vodafone Malta Foundation had also funded the multi-sensory studio at this Respite Centre, providing equipment which stimulates persons with special needs through light, sound and touch.

The new playing field consists of a special swing whereby a wheelchair user can board the swing and use it even on his own. Another piece of equipment is a merry go round whereby 3 wheelchairs can go on board with a carer seated with them. Both swing and merry go round are equipped with anchorage straps for safety. A ball shoot has also been installed for wheelchair users. The playing field is covered with safety carpets. The field has been equipped with special lighting in order to enable it to be used also during the evenings.

"This project is yet another initiative by the Vodafone Malta Foundation whose mission statement spells out the importance of sharing the benefits of the developments in mobile technology by supporting the community in which Vodafone customers, employees, investors, partners and suppliers live. Such playing fields provide safe leisure environments for these individuals and we are glad we've offered our help to Arka once again," said Gemma Mifsud Bonnici, Chairperson of the Vodafone Malta Foundation, a voluntary non-profit organisation.

The Arka Foundation in Gozo is an organisation which has been caring for persons with special needs for several years. The Foundation, through its Respite Centre, takes in persons with disabilities on a permanent basis as well as for short periods, to relieve their carers. Mgr Emmanuel Curmi, Director of the Arka Foundation said, "Firstly, I would like to thank Vodafone Malta Foundation for supporting this Centre. Funds amounting to ?70,000 aren't easy to generate and thanks to the Vodafone Malta Foundation, we've invested in the multi-sensory studio and now in the playing field, which are being used by hundreds of persons with special needs. This is another dream come true." Mgr Curmi also explained how the running of Arka Respite Centre also depends on donations from benefactors and the general public. The annual fund-raising activity in aid of this centre will be held over the coming twp-weekends through live programmes transmitted by local tv stations.

The Hon. Giovanna Debono, Minister for Gozo, who also attended for this event, praised the initiative taken by Vodafone Malta Foundation. She explained how such initiatives support Government's endeavours within the social sector. The Minister spoke about the valid work and dedication of those who work within the Arka Foundation for the benefit of those using the services of Arka Respite Centre. The Minister also referred to the worthy contribution of all those involved in voluntary work on Gozo.

The playing field which was officially opened on the 2nd April 2009 was blessed by the Bishop for Gozo, Mgr. Mario Grech.