On 26 May 2018 the first inclusive play park featuring a football field was opened in Rostov-on-Don. It was constructed by the Naked Heart Foundation with the support of the Coca-Cola System and the Rostov-on-Don administration. The aim of the project is to foster an inclusive society that is open to people with special needs and to create inclusive play and sports infrastructure in Russia.
In 2017, inclusive free play parks that are accessible to all people, irrespective of their physical, metal and sensory abilities, were opened in Volgograd and Saransk, and in 2018 they will appear in other cities across Russia. This will be Coca-Cola’s long-term legacy as an official FIFA sponsor, and its contribution to the sustainable development of Russian cities and the shaping of the country’s future generation of sports stars. The Naked Heart Foundation has been building inclusive play areas since 2004 as part of its Play with Purpose programme.
The inclusive play park was built in Chukovsky park in Rostov-on-Don and covers 3,135 square metres. It includes spacious play and sports areas that are accessible to anyone, including children and teenagers with special needs. Its unique feature is a modern football field with artificial turf. Built under our Play with Purpose programme, the park aims to give children and teenagers with special needs an opportunity to play and engage in sports together with their peers. That is why all the zones in the park include equipment that can be used by children with special needs.
The play park is the Naked Heart Foundation’s 190th play facility and its second play area in Rostov-on-Don – in 2014 we opened a playground on the premises of a local hospital.
The opening of the new play park took place on 25 May 2018. Head of the city administration Vitaly Kushnarev, founder of the Naked Heart Foundation Natalia Vodianova and General Manager of the 2018 FIFA World Cup project team Mickael Vinet took part in the official ceremony.
Right after the ceremony a Unified football match was held on the new field. It involved amateur sportsmen and Special Olympics athletes with mental disabilities. Players included President of the Football Federation of Rostov-on-Don Sergey Netchay, City Duma deputy Eduard Babayev, President of “Chayka” football club Andrey Chayka, Masters of Sports of Russia and the USSR, football players Andrey Fedkov and Andrey Kozlov and many others.
Coca-Cola organises these events in other towns in which the FIFA World Cup Trophy is displayed. Last year, Unified football games took place in Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd and Sochi, and this year they are taking place in Vladivostok, Yekaterinburg, Samara, Kazan and Nizhny Novgorod. The culmination of these series of games will be a huge football match in Moscow in July.
During the event, the FIFA World Cup Trophy was on display. The organisers of Coca Cola’s FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour firmly believe that the trophy is a symbol of optimism and promotes the development of an inclusive society and barrier-free infrastructure in Russia, in particular in relation to football. The creation of an inclusive society that is open to people with special needs and disabilities is the Naked Heart Foundation’s mission and one of the key areas of focus of the Coca-Cola System in Russia.
Natalia Vodianova: «For over 10 years the Naked Heart Foundation has been creating inclusive play areas and we appreciate that such a prominent partner as Coca-Cola is supporting this important work. I am happy that we are not only building playgrounds where children and teenagers can play, develop new skills and test their abilities, but – most importantly – we are changing attitudes towards people with special needs. An accessible environment is not just about infrastructure and ramps, it’s about breaking down barriers in our attitudes towards people»..
Mickael Vinet, General Manager of the 2018 FIFA World Cup project team: «We believe that sport, in particular football, unites people of all physical and intellectual abilities and helps break down social barriers. That’s why we’ve launched the inclusive campaign #Ready #ToOpenHearts, which aims to attract maximum attention to the social isolation of people with special needs in Russia. The creation of inclusive play parks in Russian cities is an important part of this campaign. This is the first inclusive play park with a football field in Rostov-on-Don and, together with our partners, we are working hard to make sure that such infrastructure becomes available in other cities in Russia.».
>>> More about Play with Purpose programme…
>>> Map of our play facilities…
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