Shoalhaven City Council Mayor, Amanda Findley and councillors joined with the local disability community and representatives from Touched by Olivia on Friday, 7 April 2017 to celebrate the start of construction of the newest inclusive playspace, Livvi’s Place at Mollymook.
On completion, Livvi’s Place will be a state-of-the-art playground for people of all abilities to play side-by-side on the same equipment, ensuring full integration of children and families with differences.
The design of Livvi’s Place was guided by principles of Universal Design and was developed in consultation with local children, people with disabilities and their families and carers, local schools such as Budawang and Milton, and academics. The area will boast a number of interactive spaces, including a large water play area, a sand pit, trampolines, swings, a range of play equipment, and features a pirate ship designed and built by the local Men’s Shed.
Livvi’s Place Mollymook is the result of a collaborative partnership between not for profit organisation Touched by Olivia and Shoalhaven City Council, supported by local MP Shelley Hancock through the NSW Government Community Building Partnership grants and Northcott’s Fundability program.
Touched by Olivia Foundation started 10 years ago following the death of Olivia Perkins. Her family used their loss as a catalyst for change, and have since opened 21 inclusive playspaces across Australia.
Mayor Amanda Findley is excited the project is starting. “This is a fantastic park for the Shoalhaven’s disability community and one we know will be utilised by locals and tourists alike. Parks are special places where friendships are born and cemented and resilience is learnt.”
“Inclusive playspaces will create a change in the way people with differences are perceived. Livvi’s Place is a really special project. It has been driven by a great need in the local community,” said Bec Ho, Executive Officer.
Local resident, Annette Pham, has helped to champion the project and coordinated a mufti day where local school students became Super Heroes for Play! Annette was also pivotal in lobbying for funding for the adjacent Changing Places amenities, providing a people with disabilities dignity when using bathrooms.
"To be included is all any mother wants for her child. Our family is overjoyed at the thought of an inclusive playground for Mollymook Beach, to see other children interact with Liam brings tears to my eyes and makes us feel like we belong"
The park is scheduled for completion by late 2017.