A PLAYGROUND for disabled children has been awarded thousands of pounds by the charitable arm of the Guardian's publisher, Newsquest.

The Elhap Adventure Playground in Roding Lane North, Woodford Bridge, has been given £5,500 by the Gannett Foundation.

The money will be used to buy a new piece of equipment called a 'round the world' circular swing.

Manager of the centre, Robert Dighton, said: "I almost couldn't believe it when we heard the news because we aren't as big as other charties we often get forgotten.

"This swing is so much more than a piece of play equipment. It will give the children the chance to be children, to assess risks, to have fun and to make choices."

Play worker Lawrence Lubbock added: "We have all of these crazy projects that we want to build and once in a blue moon we get the money to be able to do so."

The playground, which was created in 1976 and is spread across four acres, is used throughout the year by around 6,000 children and young adults with special needs and disablities.

It has 14 permanent members of staff and a small army of volunteers who help out in school holidays when the playground is at its busiest.

The charity was last awarded money by the Gannett Foundation in 2008, which it used to buy a hexagonal swing.

A total of £328,577 was handed out to 38 causes by the Gannett Foundation across the country to benefit people who live in areas served by Newsquest papers.