Playgrounds of all abilities: Olivia’s legacy
An all-abilities playground built in memory of a young New South Wales girl whose life ended at the age of 8 months from a rare illness was today a place of celebration as part of International Day of People with Disability.
The Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, Senator Jan McLucas today joined in the family fun at Livvi’s Place, the first all-abilities playground for children established by the Touched by Olivia Foundation, where she announced funding for the development of inclusive playground guidelines across the country.
“All children should have the opportunity to play, to have fun in a park or playground, to be amongst friends,” Senator McLucas said.
“Livvi’s Place is where children and parents of all abilities and ages can play side-by-side.”
“The Foundation is working to establish nationally accepted and endorsed Inclusive Play Design guidelines and I’m pleased to announce that the Gillard Government will provide $50,000 to support this great work. “
Inclusive playgroup features include soft fall rubber flooring, visual and audio stimulation and is configured to maximise creative, physical, social and cognitive play. The unique design enables children and parents of all abilities and ages to play side-by-side on the same equipment in a safe, secure environment.
“Livvi’s Place is a wonderful example of ‘how to’ build truly inclusive playgrounds and we want to use this as a model for playgrounds all over Australia.”
“It’s not only built for people with physical disabilities, but also to cater for the needs of people with autism and intellectual disabilities.”
“We hope councils and builders will find the guidelines useful in developing more inclusive playgrounds.”
John and Justine Perkins founded the Touched by Olivia Foundation in 2006 in memory of their daughter Olivia to improve the health and happiness of children, raising funds and building playgrounds for children of all abilities.
Since then, the Foundation has built and opened four playgrounds with another eight under development, and 42 planned for communities around Australia.
“The Touched by Olivia Foundation was founded some five years ago following a family tragedy; it just goes to show that wonderful things can come out of terrible circumstances. What a beautiful legacy for Olivia,” Senator McLucas said.
The Touched Olivia Foundation was recognised at the National Disability Awards on November 22 at Parliament House, named a finalist for the Inclusive and Accessible Communities Award category.