Here comes the rainbow
Thanks to a $1.25 million grant from the WA Government, Touched by Olivia will be building our next inclusive playspace in Whiteman Park.
Pia’s Place was created by our beautiful friends, Tony and Amy Rudd, in memory of their ldaughter Pia.
The nature-based playground was designed by the late Wendy Seymour, and will feature custom-built play equipment including an elevated lighthouse, polished concrete slides, a basket swing, an all-abilities carousel, a sensory garden and family-friendly shelters.
Pia’s Place will be located near the Mussel Pool East tram stop with car park access and toilet facilities.
“As the local member for West Swan and mum of three, I have witnessed the joy these types of playgrounds give to local children. Last year, I saw the opening of the Livvi’s Place in Whiteman Edge, where hundreds of young families are moving each year – this will provide another”, said the WA Planning Minister Rita Saffioti.
“I commend the commitment and dedication of the Rudds and their supporters for bringing their vision to life. The State Government is proud to support this project that has inclusion at its heart.”
Disability Services Minister Stephen Dawson is a passionate supporter of play and helped open Livvi’s Place Sienna Wood last year.
“It is so important to have facilities where children of all abilities can come together and enjoy the outdoors and play,” said Minister Dawson.
Researchers from Queensland University of Technology (QUT), University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and Federation University are seeking children with disabilities and their families help to evaluate inclusive playspaces.
Three locations have been selected for the pilot study. We are recruiting for two site now:
Livvi’s Place, 1 Discovery Way, Jordan Springs NSW 2747
All Abilities Playground, Caloundra St, Landsborough QLD 4550
If your child/children with disabilities is between the ages of 5 and 14, has used this inclusive playspace, and would like to participate in research we would love to hear from you by 30 MAY 2018. Please register your interest by emailing Bec Ho from Touched By Olivia’s at email@example.com
What’s involved? Children, accompanied by their families, will be asked to come along to the playspace to complete 3 play-based activities that will tell us about their play experiences and show us what works and doesn’t work in supporting them to play.
These activities include: a child-led tour of the playspace, a task to rate the playground, and a free play session (see details in the information sheet attached here).
Children can also ask their families to help them out with any of the activities. The researchers (Dr Lisa Stafford, Associate Professor Jenene Burke, Professor Simon Darcy, and Professor Stewart Trost) have extensive experience working and researching with children and disabilities.
If you have any questions, please contact Dr Lisa Stafford, Lead Researcher of the project via email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 07 3138 4595.
This study has research ethics approval – QUT Ethics Approval Number 1700001074.
We’re about to shut the gate on our biggest year yet.
The board and team at Touched by Olivia made a decision to shift from labor intensive, grassroots campaigning to a more strategic platform in 2016.
To help us on our mission, we’re dedicated to finding indisputable proof of the benefit of inclusive play. We are grateful to Janice Ollerton and Charles Sturt University for their work publishing Planning for Social Inclusion in Inclusive Playspaces. Two more studies are in early development.
There is an expectation from communities that their playspaces are inclusive,and we are delighted that decision makers are getting on board.
It was wonderful to have the NSW Planning Minister, Anthony Roberts, help us to realise the goal of reform advocating for universal design in the design and delivery of inclusive playspaces. Last month, Minister Roberts announced that all new and upgraded playspaces in NSW will be Universally Designed. He also announced funding to help us build Livvi’s Place Wagga and Warragamaba, due to be opened mid 2018.
You can find outmore about the NSW Government’s commitment to Better Open Spaces in this short video.
A great bunch of Federal MP’s joined us for a playdate with a difference at Parliament House. There was much discussion about the National Disability Strategy and the recent senate enquiry into the delivery of outcomes to build inclusive and accessible communities. We look forward to continuing the national discussion and making sure play really counts.
Our popular storytime program expanded to 5 sites and will be back in more locations in 2018. Thousands of stories were read, songs sung, and priceless artworks commissioned at this fun and free activity we are proud to provide to communities in Ryde, Five Dock, Blacktown, Dubbo and Penrith.
Thanks to the successful Butterfly Ball in May, and the generosity of the Stockland CARE Foundation, and MJH Multi, we exceed our annual fundraising goal. This means that 100% of all funds raised continue to go to the projects, not administration. We are so incredibly grateful to be in this enviable position.
Livvi’s Places were opened across the country. We were fortunate to partner with the wonderful teams at Hume City Council, Stockland, Shoalhaven City Council and The Hills Shire Council to put five more Livvi’s Places on the map.
You can find your closest Livvi’s Place here.
In the spirit of collaborative play, we joined forces with the team at Variety NSW and committed to open two projects together. They’ll be known as Variety Livvi’s Place and will be opened in Bankstown and Taree in 2018,
We commerated our 11th year by launching #RAOKTBO. Over 300 random acts of kindness were commited on November 20th. It really is cool to be kind.
Our social enterprise cafes, Livvi’s Cafe Five Dock and Livvi’s Cafe Elara, had great years with more trainee and an update to the Five Dock cafe thanks to a group of young men and funding from Sydney Community Foundation.
What an absolutely amazing year. Thank you for your love, support, belief, acceptance and inclusion in 2017. We are looking forward to breaking for the holidays and returning late January, ready and rested for an even bigger year filled with great success and lots of playdates in 2018.
The Board and Team at Touched by Olivia.
An exciting announcement was made by the the Hon. Anthony Roberts, Minister for Planning and Housing and Fiona Morrison, Commissioner of Open Space and Parklands yesterday at Livvi’s Place Ryde. Read below for more information.
Imagine taking your child to a playground on a sunny spring morning and seeing the playground full of parents and carers enjoying each other’s company surrounded by children laughing, playing and taking delight in the beautiful surroundings of the park.
Now imagine your child not being able to participate. He or she can only watch the other children playing and having fun.
Imagine the feelings of disappointment, sadness and despair you and your child would experience.
Sadly, this is the reality that many NSW families across our cities and towns are faced with every day as about 90,000 children aged between five and 14 live with a disability.
This is not acceptable and we need to do more to address the inequality of these situations. Our parks and play spaces are essential to the growth and development of our children.
It is through play that children and young people learn to socialise, negotiate risk, challenge themselves, make friends, develop their imaginations and learn to make decisions.
Playgrounds and parks are spaces where children of all abilities and from all walks of life can strive to work together to conquer challenges, imitate and learn from each other and build friendships, irrespective of physical or mental ability.
Imagine their parents sitting, engaging with other parents and carers witnessing their child being welcomed.
For the parents and carers, play spaces and parks are indispensable meeting points where support, friendship and relief can be found.
As the heart of our suburbs, our parks and play spaces must be places that welcome everyone, regardless of ability and background.
The commitment to create places that are equitable and available to people of all abilities is central to the work of the NSW government and many organisations, including the Touched By Olivia Foundation.
Through the creation of inclusive play spaces and parklands, where children and carers of all abilities can come together to play and to support each other, our community will become more resilient and tolerant.
The network of Livvi’s Place play spaces across NSW is a significant step in establishing places where all children can play, but more work needs to be done.
The NSW government is committed to creating more play spaces where all children can play and where carers of all ages and abilities can enjoy time with their children and their neighbours.
I’ve tasked the NSW Commissioner for Open Space and Parklands, Fiona Morrison, to focus on working with the community to create parks and play spaces that are planned, designed and managed under the principles of universal access and to create more inclusive play spaces for our communities.
Work has started to ensure play is equal and available to all.
Through understanding the challenges so many NSW families are faced with, the new Inclusive Play Guidelines will promote inclusion across the state and provide the tools for designers to create play spaces that are equitable, enjoyable, fun and equal.
Now, picture the child I mentioned earlier, having the freedom to swing, roll, run, climb, slide, explore, create and build at his or her choosing. Complete equal autonomy.
Imagine their parents sitting, engaging with other parents and carers witnessing their child being welcomed, accepted and smiling.
That is the future this government intends to provide for every child in NSW. While there is much work to be done, the commitment has been made and work has started to ensure play is equal and available to all.
From the Daily Telegraph 9 November 2017
We are so excited to have broken ground at the first inclusive playspace in South Australia with our partners from City of Marion and the South Australian Government.
Livvi’s Place at Hendrie Street Reserve will open in April 2018 and is made possible thanks to the support of our sponsors Primary Club of Australia, Boral, Ian Kissock, Bank of South Australia and generous grants from the SA Gov.
The design is fantastic and the team at council who have designed and guided this project have been exceptional – massive shout out to Alicia Clutterham who seeded this prophecy four years ago at a Parks and Leisure Australia conference in Newcastle and her team including the excellent Brett Grimm and Renee Pitcher.
We were delighted to have our champion and ambassador Quentin Kenihan there to officiate and the visionary Kelly Vincent cheering us on. Huge thanks to Katrine Hildyard MP, the Minister for Disability and Sport and Recreation, for being part of something so wonderful and celebrating inclusion with us yesterday as she represented the South Australian Labor government and Deputy Premier Hon John Rau MP.
Everyone was moved and almost as excited as the young local family who’s daughter attends Suneden Special School – they urged people to get on board and support the next stage ❤️❤️
It’s a great time to be part of something really great in SA.
A play date was held in the most important house in Australia to celebrate inclusive play.
The Hon. Craig Laundy and Emma Husar MP will launch the Parliamentary Friends of Inclusion in the mural hall with a play date.
The Parli Play Date is co-hosted by national charity, Touched by Olivia. Touched by Olivia’s mission is to ensure that every child had the right and ability to play in their local community. The event was sponsored by Stockland.
Inclusive playgrounds are specially designed children’s play areas where children of all abilities, irrespective of their challenges, be they physical or neurological, can play side-by-side with children of typical ability, in a secure area.
Craig Laundy is the member for Reid, the electorate that Touched by Olivia opened the first of their inclusive playspaces in.
“We hope we can make a contribution to ensuring all children and their families can be included, whether in school or the playground, or anywhere else.” Mr Laundy said.
“Today is an opportunity to hear firsthand experiences from those who have struggled to feel accepted by their peers.”
“We are inspired by their courage and resilience.”
Emma Husar, Member for Lindsay, co-chairs the Friends of Inclusion and is a long term supporter of Touched by Olivia.
“I am so proud to continue my long standing support of Touched By Olivia in Parliament.” Federal Member for Lindsay and co-chair of Parliamentary friends of inclusion said.
Husar’s involvement with the charity predates her time as even a Labor party member, having volunteered to be a community driver on the playground in Jordan Springs, over 8 years ago when her then, 3-year old son Mitch was an avid absconder.
“When I first told my son that I was going to be helping to build a playground for him and kids like him, he thought I was being literal and asked if he could also help. That he would dig the holes.”
“I am thrilled to be in a position that allows me to share with my colleagues the great work being done on inclusion for everyone. Side by side play with aged matched peers has two-way benefits.”
“When Labor was last in Government we provided vital funds for Touched By Olivia to hold a workshop here in Canberra, which I was part of. At that workshop we created a set of inclusive play design guidelines that would ultimately become world’s best practice. I am so proud of that legacy of this charity and their leadership to ensure all kids can play.”
The star of the day was Alex Coombes, who is a year 5 student. He spoke of his challenges and dreams and engaged a group of some of the best speech makers in our country.
The Bad Moms are back with a sequel, so we thought it would be a great chance to grab your girl gang, and have a giggle with us. We love these movie nights, they really do put the fun into fundraising!
Friday 3rd November – pre drinks from 6:30, movie kicks off at 7:30.
Event Cinemas Top Ryde
Grab your ticket for just $30 – mumsnightoff2.eventbrite.com to purchase online today.
Our mates at PAYCE are helping to get the party started by shouting the first MOMgarita! Thank you!
Playgrounds are places where childhood memories are made… and so are kitchens! We love playing with food as much as we love playing at the park, whether that be whipping up real scones or ones made with mud.
What we know about play is that it improves our creativity, language, coordination, social skills, physical and mental health. Which is why Touched by Olivia foundation is committed to making play spaces for EVERYONE, where EVERYONE has access to play and can feel INCLUDED.
This year, we are putting the focus on Pia’s Place, the Touched by Olivia playspace to be built at Whiteman Park, Western Australia. Our aim this Sconetober is to raise at least$200,000 dollars for inclusive play. We hope it’ll be as easy as jam and cream!
A few months ago, 7 year old Charlie invited his friend, Eva, to come over to bake scones and sell them in their neighbourhood to raise funds for Pia’s Place. They raised $18.50 and generously donated their money to Touched by Olivia Foundation, the charity foundation responsible for enabling Pia’s Place to be built. This selfless and generous act gave rise to Sconetober and now we have a whole fundraising campaign based on this simple idea!
We are asking for a LITTLE donation from A LOT of people to make a BIG difference. You can hold a bake sale for Sconetoberor donate your little bit straight to us! Your donation will go a long way to ensuring every child is included in play!
Text “SCONE” to 0437 371 371 or visit sconetober.com.au for more information.
A brand new Livvi’s Place will become the jewel in the crown of one of the community’s favourite parks following the adoption of the Bernie Mullane Masterplan.
Mayor of The Hills Shire, Councillor Yvonne Keane, said working hand-in-hand with the Touched by Olivia Foundation to transform the playground at Bernie Mullane Reserve into a wonderland for children of all abilities is the first, and important step, for Council as it reimagines its approach to play spaces across the Shire.
“I am so grateful that my fellow Councillors gave their unanimous support to establish a Livvi’s Playground as part of the transformation of Bernie Mullane Reserve,” Mayor Keane said.
“One of my key visions for my Mayoralty is to promote an inclusive and connected community, and I am incredibly proud that we will soon breathe to life a truly special space that will be used day-in and day-out by children of all abilities.
“As someone who sits on the board of a large national disabilities service provider, as someone who has one child with a disability and one without, and as a Hills mum, being part of the Council team that is establishing a Livvi’s Place is especially poignant.
“Bernie Mullane Reserve is already immensely popular and I thank the community for working with Council to come up with a plan that will ensure this great place is made even better.
“Bernie Mullane will become a go-to destination for families in The Hills, and I could not be more delighted with what is ahead of us,” Mayor Keane added.
Improvements outlined in the Bernie Mullane Reserve Masterplan also include the addition of a dog off-leash area, decommissioning and reconstruction of the dam area to include picnic areas, installation of exercise and fitness stations, improved lighting and car parking facilities and the installation of synthetic sports surfaces.
The inclusive playground will cost approximately $500,000.
Council will provide funds for the project, while working closely with the Touched by Olivia Foundation on designs and potential sponsorship opportunities.
Shopping centres can be a sensory overload, with lots of people and lots of noises. We are proud to have run the consultation process for Stockland Shellharbour to design Retreat Zones, or Quiet Rooms. The Quiet Rooms are designed for parents and carers of children with autism who may become overwhelmed while shopping, and provide a calm, low sensory environment which can be used as a retreat.
In 2016, we surveyed over 1000 people of all ages and abilities across Australia. The results have been reviewed, and attached is the summary report, State of Play 2016. It provides in-depth information and research behind the importance and necessity of having inclusive play spaces in Australia. View it here: https://lnkd.in/gxXw4PF
Download a text version here.
The NYC marathon takes participants through the five boroughs with a slight detour through the little known districts of Heartache, Determination, Inspiration and Elation.
At the beginning of 2016, Touched by Olivia decided we would like to take part in the world’s greatest race. It would commemorate our tenth anniversary, and be a great way to reconnect with our local community. The call went out and we were delighted when 30 runners signed up. It’s been fantastic – lots of group runs, fundraising events and training sessions.
On November 6th, New York closes car access to her streets and invites 50,000 runners to take part in one of the most iconic marathons in the world.
The fun started at 6am when we boarded coaches to Staten Island. Our crew set up camp and stood out, with runners from all over the world requesting pictures with us. A highlight was being interviewed on ABC News (many of the spectators recognised our shirts later on in the race!) Click Lee’s microphone below to watch.
There were five bridges to cross, but coming off the first was something special. New Yorkers were out in force. Signs, water, and words of encouragement extended from 9am when the elite runners started to in the dark of the night. Our hot pink singlets again attracted lots of attention and words of support, including the popular “You got this!”
Our supporters were working hard and getting the k’s up themselves as they crossed the city to be there for the team. It was so good to have familiar faces, pink balloons and encouragement from our people.
Every single runner finished, even those with injuries. The medals are the same, but the memories are personal and individual. It was an elating and emotional experience after months of training and sacrifice. Knowing that we were running for those who can’t kept us going and inspired on this adventure.
Our love and thanks go to the Run for Play Team who rose to the triple challenge: train for a marathon, self fund your entry and help us to raise $200,000 for play.
Amy Carr, Mel Cooper, Stumpy Curren, Cathy Dodds, Melinda Doust, Lachlan Downe, Peter Dredge, Susan Gibson, Jason Hameister, Sue Hardaker, Kylie, Harry, Bec Ho, Tom Hollings, David Johnsun, Marnie Jurkowski, Gladys Mallqui, Emma Mauceri, Sean McCann, Fiona Morrison, Parry Nero, Nadia Nero, Vic Nero, Sophie O’Brien, CK Pass, Justine Perkins, Chris Russo, David Simon, Jeff Soo, Andy Thomas, Cath Watson and Sarah Wood.
You can check out their pictures from the day in the gallery below.
We’ve almost hit our ambitious fundraising target of $200,000, with $190,000 in donations received. Our team is overwhelmed and honoured by the support. Touched by Olivia does not receive government funding, and provides valuable services to Australian communities for free. This campaign will cover the cost of operations, and allow our organisation to continue to grow in 2017. Thank You.
If you would like to help us to reach our goal, please make a donation here.
Today our founder Justine Perkins and Alex Coombes, our youngest ambassador joined Tommy Williams and Sally Obermeder on The Daily Edition to talk about inclusive playspaces and why we believe every playspace should be inclusive.
Jussie gave a subtle shout out to our marathon campaign, wearing her NYC Marathon shirt for the very first time on national TV. We love your work, Justine! Click here or on the image below to watch the segment.
We’ve just about hit $130,000 raised – you can help us reach our goal of $200k for play by donating – click here …or help us to push for legislation to make every playspace inclusive by signing our petition.
Yesterday, we celebrated the opening of the 20th Livvi’s Place.
Livvi’s Place Jordan Springs was developed in partnership with Touched by Olivia Foundation, Penrith City Council and Lendlease over a five year period.
MEDIA RELEASE: Lendlease and the Touched by Olivia Foundation officially opened Livvi’s Place at Jordan Springs today, marking the first inclusive play space to be built by Lendlease.
Designed in consultation with local children, people with disabilities and their families and carers, local schools and academics, Livvi’s Place is an inclusive play space that will enable children of all ages and abilities to play side-by-side using the same equipment.
The state-of-the-art play space boasts several interactive spaces including a large water play area with 6 water jets, a sandpit, trampolines, swings, a range of play equipment, a performance stage and picnic areas.
The opening of Livvi’s Place was celebrated with a grand opening event featuring market stalls, food, games and performances from children’s entertainer and Touched by Olivia Foundation ambassador, Jay Laga’aia.
The Hon. Stuart Ayres MP, Member for Penrith and Penrith Mayor John Thain officially opened the play space alongside representatives from Lendlease and the Touched by Olivia Foundation.
General Manager of Lendlease Communities in NSW/ACT, Arthur Ilias, said, “after more than five years of planning, consultation with the community and our partners, The Touched by Olivia Foundation and Penrith City Council, it’s great to open Livvi’s Place at Jordan Springs.”
“Livvi’s Place is the first inclusive play space to be built by Lendlease and has soft rubber flooring spaces, a rock climbing area, a water play area, access to public toilets and more to ensure that children of all abilities can play together,” said Mr Ilias.
Touched by Olivia Foundation Founder, Justine Perkins said, “Olivia’s legacy is to help children become healthier and happier.
“The opening of Livvi’s Place and our partnership with Lendlease and the Penrith City Council will ensure that children in Jordan Springs and surrounding suburbs have plenty of opportunities to play outdoors with other children and enjoy the equipment no matter their age or ability,” Justine said.
Penrith Mayor John Thain said it’s always exciting to launch a new playground in Penrith, but the opening of Livvi’s Place in Jordan Springs was much more than a new place to play.
“Livvi’s Place is an inclusive playground for our city and one that I’m personally really excited about,” said Cr Thain.
“This is a great example of government, not-for-profit organisations and developers working together for the benefit of, and with, the community.”
Livvi’s Place is spans over 2350 square metres and includes more than 3781 trees, shrubs, flowers and plants, 15 personalised pavers and 13 hand painted tiles. There are spaces for kids to spin, climb, slide, swing, jump, dig, run, sing and dance, eat and wheel with nearly all facilities at Livvi’s Place being wheelchair friendly.
Today we lost a good guy.
Our dear friend and play person, Wendy Seymour, passed in her sleep this morning. Wendy had been diagnosed with a brain tumour earlier this year.
Wendy was a wonderful advocate for play. I first met Wendy in 2011. We were travelling by train from the International Play Association Convention in Wales back to London when Barb Champion introduced us with her usual flair – “you two need to know each other”.
Wendy was so generous with her exceptional and unique skill and experience in designing landscapes, and shared a story of her mate Amy Rudd. Amy had lost her baby Pia, and wanted to create a positive meaning to her life. Wendy and Amy had partnered up to design an amazing, inclusive nature playground in Whiteman Park, Western Australia. Did Touched by Olivia want to get involved? Of course we did. And the friendship began.
Wendy joined us on the National Inclusive Playspace advisory panel TBO facilitated in 2012 and provided knowledge, valuable insight and passion.
Wendy has designed some of the most innovative and inclusive playspaces, and educated so many of us on the extensive benefits of true nature play.
Our love and thoughts go to her family and all those who are missing her. Let’s all plant a tree in her honour today.
Vale Wendy Seymour.
A few months back, our founders featured in Australian Financial Review. John and Justine Perkins started Touched by Olivia almost ten years ago when their 8 month old baby daughter died suddenly from a rare disease.
This interview shares how this dynamic couple make their relationship work.
Ellen Fanning is the host of ABC Radio show, Life Matters. Today, she was joined by our founder Justine Perkins on a panel with Professor Simon Darcy and Jose Bello, and a passionate mother of a child with a disability.
Kids love going to the park and playing sport. But too often kids with disabilities sit on the sidelines, watching others play, because playgrounds and sports aren’t designed to include them. Two not-for-profit foundations want all children to be able to play by building inclusive playgrounds and sports teams.
A new study funded through a Charles Sturt University (CSU) grant scheme has found that a playground in Port Macquarie is achieving its goal of social inclusion.
Opened in 2014, Livvi’s Place in Westport Park was planned and designed as an inclusive play space by the group Touched by Olivia and Port Macquarie Hastings Council.
Touched by Olivia wanted to assess if Livvi’s Place was meeting its goals of social inclusion, including accessibility and inter-generational play.
The research was undertaken by sociologist Dr Janice Ollerton, an independent researcher, and Associate Professor Rosemary Black from the School of Environmental Sciences at CSU in Port Macquarie.
The study, involving 193 online and face-to-face surveys of park users during April and May 2016, found that Livvi’s Place promotes a sense of social inclusion. During the research, users of the playground expressed feelings of safety, welcome and belonging.
Dr Ollerton said, “We found that the main user group is families with children under 13 years and predominantly preschool-aged children. Livvi’s Place is especially popular with families of children with disabilities.”
Professor Black said, “We also found that Livvi’s Place encourages its users to be themselves, live in the moment, and enjoy their experiences there.
“The friendships formed, conversations started, and playful interactions experienced at Livvi’s Place demonstrate how it helps people connect and become members of the local community.”
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council Director Ms Tricia Bulic said, “Livvi’s Place is a playground destination of choice for locals and visitors alike, and Council are pleased to have partnered with the community to provide such a safe, welcoming and interactive play space that all families can enjoy.”
The findings also revealed that people recognised creative learning took place through play at Livvi’s Place and together with the relationships forged at the playground, suggests it’s a space where people can feel part of the local community.
Areas for improvement were identified by some respondents that, if implemented, may enhance inclusive play and improve the safety aspects of Livvi’s Place.
Read the full report here: Livvi’s Place Port Mac Post Occupancy Report
|Thirty Aussies are lacing up their running shoes and heading to New York City this November to participate in the most iconic marathon in the world. They have been inspired to run for those who can’t. The team is aiming to raise $200,000 to assist Touched by Olivia grow the “handprint” of inclusion across more communities in Australia. On Saturday night, over 100 people joined the team at Copo Diner in Drummoyne to raise $11,000 towards the $200k goal.
The charity behind this team is Touched by Olivia, who is working towards a world that is inclusive. Touched by Olivia’s core work is co-creating inclusive playspaces with communities, corporations and government known as Livvi’s Place. 19 playspaces have been completed to date, with many more in development across Australia.
The majority of the 30 runners are new to running and have been inspired to start big and enter the NYC marathon to help give children the right to play. “I would do anything to support Touched by Olivia. Running 42.2kms, as painful as it will be, is nothing compared to the positive impact that inclusion brings,” says Gladys Mallqui from Veeva Property Group, who lead the organising committee for the night and will be swapping her heels
Justine Perkins is the founder of Touched by Olivia and has built this run for play team to spread news of the benefits of inclusive play. “Olivia’s legacy is to help children become healthier and happier. Children who can play with their family and friends and be included in society. Imagine a world where everyone belongs and has a place to play. That’s when our work will be done.”
You can support the team by clicking here: everydayhero.com.au
KYLIE Mackey was so overweight and unfit last year she couldn’t walk to the letterbox without getting tired.
The 43-year-old mother of two from Penrith watched in awe as her husband Phillip totally up-ended his life and shed 50kg after their wedding in 2010, but a lingering depression meant she couldn’t muster the strength to follow in his footsteps.
“I would come home from work stressed and in tears because things weren’t going the way they should be going. I was unhappy with myself,” she told The Daily Telegraph.
After the couple’s daughter Emily was born in 2011, it was a time of joy for the new parents but Kylie’s depression continued to haunt her.
Kylie and Phillip Mackey have lost a combined 80kg since they were married six years ago. Picture: Supplied
Two years later Kylie gave birth to son Liam who was born with a number of serious disabilities that meant he would never be able to walk or talk and would require around-the-clock care from his parents.
Their little boy spent a horrific first year in and out of hospital, with the first 12 weeks of his life confined to the intensive care unit.
Much of Kylie and Phillip’s time was spent looking after Liam and Emily, but it wasn’t until last year that it dawned on Kylie how important it was that she was around to look after him.
“In about April last year I decided this child — both of our children — need me and this little boy is going to need me to be around and be the best that I can be for as long as I can be that,” she said.
“My husband had done all of this work and was really healthy and I was so in awe of that.”
There weren’t enough hours in the day for Kylie to really put in the initial effort needed to start the transformation so she opted to begin the change by undergoing gastric sleeve surgery.
She followed that with a big change in diet and regular exercise and the effects were immediately obvious.
The couple have come a huge distance since their wedding day.
Kylie used to get tired just walking to the letterbox. Picture: Supplied
Phillip is planning to run the Western Sydney Marathon in October. Picture: Supplied
“I couldn’t find the time to get out and exercise and couldn’t find the energy to do it so thought I could kickstart it by doing this surgery,” she said.
“I started walking, my food was much better and I lost 25-30kg.”
Everything has changed for the couple since they exchanged vows six years ago.
Back then date night would involve lots of food and a movie, or they might not even venture out of the house, instead choosing to sit in front of the TV and watch movies.
“Now when we go on a date it’s to the gym and then maybe for coffee afterwards,” Kylie said.
Not content with walking, Kylie and Phillip decided they wanted to take their new-found lease on life a step further.
“At the beginning of this year I realised I had always wanted to be able to run and I’ve never been able to do it,” Kylie said.
“I couldn’t run 100m before and now I can run 5km non-stop and my aim is to do 10km in October at the Western Sydney Marathon.”
The couple’s two children — Emily, 5, Liam, 3, inspired Kylie to make the major changes in her life. Picture: Supplied
She’s also getting ready to compete in a triathlon later this year and Phillip will be running the full marathon in October.
“We are pretty much dedicating that to our son because he’s the reason that I’m better,” Kylie said.
The mum was even planning to take part in the New York Marathon in November but can’t afford the time away from Liam at the moment.
Instead she committed to running 50km across the week of the event and is raising money for Touched By Olivia, a foundation that ensures there are inclusive playspaces for kids with disabilities.
The challenges that have been thrown at Kylie and Phillip over the past few years could have completely overwhelmed the couple, but it actually did the opposite.
“I finally had purpose in my life. This little boy needs me and I can’t let him down,” Kylie said.
The first time I met Sandra Casinader, I was attending the 2009 Butterfly Ball, Touched by Olivia‘s major annual fundraiser. Sandra featured in a video that was shared on the night and inspired hundreds of people to dig deep and help us to build our first Livvi’s Place at Five Dock. Sandra shares her story at 4:30 in the Youtube clip below.
Happy 7th birthday to Luke – the little boy that inspired his community to create an inclusive Playspace. We got to know and love his family back in 2013 and are sending birthday cheers to Luke today. Get to know Luke’s Family by watching this beautiful video http://youtu.be/9UNuW2bSYtw
It was filmed at Luke’s Place in Corrimal, NSW – a #livvisplace #inclusiveplayspace we built with Wollongong City Council, local business and national partners like St George, Subway and BHP.
Many more beautiful families that helped make this happen – Mel Smith, Susan Wallis, Andrew and Jade Webb.
We’ve had a bit of an identity crisis recently; TBO has been a victim of our own success. Cafes, playgrounds, programs and lots of advocacy campaigns with only 2.5 staff members saw us spread pretty thin.
Our newest director spent some time with the TBO team workshopping who we are into a nutshell. Here is what we have come up with. Nothing new, just a great snapshot of the who, why what and how of Touched by Olivia. What do you think? #becauseeverychildneedstoplay
Last week, we were invited to address the councillors of City of Wagga Wagga regarding the potential to create a partnership and make a Livvi’s Place happen. This interview with Leila Bright summarises why we are so committed.
As you enjoy your weekend, think about play and how you’re able to enjoy and access it in your local community.
If you’ve got ideas on how to make play better – we want to know.
If you’ve got feedback on great play spaces – we want to know.
We can’t fund huge research projects because we spend all our money on building great inclusive playspaces. That’s why we need you to help us. Do this quick survey today and ask at least five of your mates to do it, too.
You can read the results of the previous survey on our website: http://touchedbyolivia.com.au/come-play-survey/
CALLING ALL Friends of Livvi’s Place Bankstown!
The concept designs have been developed based on your ideas at consultation – now is the time for you to have your say on what we took from the sessions and surveys!
Click the link below and have your say today.
The portal will be open for 4 weeks.
BECAUSE EVERY CHILD NEEDS TO PLAY.
It’s not often that we love an article so much, we post it on our website, but this one from Amy Wagenfeld is too good not to share!
Inclusive design is “design that considers the full range of human diversity with respect to ability, language, culture, gender, age and other forms of human difference.” Unlike accessible design, which is often stigmatizing, institutional looking, and possibly embarrassing for users, universal and inclusive design is sensitive to users’ physical, cognitive, and emotional needs, and is aesthetically pleasing. Universal and inclusive design is about equity and parity.
If we step back and look at the whole child, there is more to universal and inclusive design than, say, addressing physical challenges. In an ideal design scenario, universal and inclusive children’s outdoor environments nurture the child’s intellect, emotions, sensory systems, and yes, physical skills. Below are ideas for inclusive and universal design, and why they belong in all children’s outdoor environments.”
To make sure we are always listening, we survey a lot. The answers become reason to make play happen in communities all over the country, and tell individual stories and challenges to access quality play.
If you are passionate about play and inclusion, please help us to continue our research by completing this very short survey today. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/play16
Every community Touched by Olivia works in gets the full consultation – we talk to kids, families, decision makers, service providers – everyone who will share their thoughts on inclusion is heard. We then take your ideas and turn them into a brief for the designers, who bring it all to life with the support of all levels of government and industry. Below is a short video about the process and why it is important from the Advocate for Children and Young People in NSW.
Livvi’s Cafe Whiteman Edge has been relocated to Kasanka Ave, near Livvi’s Place and will reopen mid July. The new operators are Andrew and Nikki Thomas, local residents who are passionate about good coffee and inclusive societies. Meet the Thomas family:
“Having decided to build and subsequently moved to Whiteman Edge over 3 years ago we are, and continue to be a part of what we believe is a growing and enjoyable community to live. Andrew and I are British expats albeit soon to sit our Australian Citizenship and are parents to our children Joseph and Alexandria. Our fifth member of the family is rather crazy and energetic albeit crazy labrador puppy Benny.
Our family is heavily involved in local sports clubs Ellenbrook Rabbitohs and Ellenbrook United Football Club. Andrew both coaches rugby and soccer as well as playing with Joseph following in his dad’s footsteps. Alexandria is more of gym monkey who enjoys climbing pretty much anything she can so will be completely at home on the new playspace both outside the cafe and at Livvi’s Place.
We believe in learning through play, having fun and physical activity so we are also excited to announce that we will be running regular activities and events. The first one in the pipeline is a park run for the youngsters followed by an enjoyable treat back at the cafe……more details to follow!”
Livvi’s Cafe is part of a network of social enterprise cafes that provide hands on experience and employment to young people with disabilities.
Livvi’s Cafe is supported by Stockland to bring the local community to life with regular events. Andrew and Nikki are planning lots of great activities like story time and mums and bubs groups and a weekly timed fun run. Follow all the action and activities on Facebook.
After almost three years of discussions, and ten years of petitioning by the community, Livvi’s Place Warragamba is one step closer to reality. For more information, the release from Angus Taylor’s office is below:
On Saturday, The Federal Liberal Member for Hume, Angus Taylor, joined Wollondilly Mayor Simon Landow and the Touched by Olivia Foundation to announce that a re-elected Turnbull Liberal Team would provide $350,000 for an All Abilities Playground in Warragamba.
The playground is to be located at Warragamba Civic Park, Weir Road, Warragamba. Warragamba Civic Park is a joint project by Wollondilly Shire Council and the Touched by Olivia Foundation.
The project was initiated in 2012 by local community members who formed a working group with Council.
A formal commitment to the project was made by Council and the Foundation in 2014.
Mr Taylor said the playground would be inclusive for all age groups, for children and adults with a disability or frailty.
“I have campaigned for Federal support for this project and I’m really happy to be able to announce funding to kickstart such an important community resource,” he said.
Mayor Cr Simon Landow said, “Council greatly appreciates the Federal Government’s commitment of funding for the All Abilities Playground Regional Facility in Warragamba, and we look forward to creating a state of the art playspace with The Touched by Olivia Foundation for our kids and adults with disabilities”.
The total project is estimated to cost $1.2 million and will include earthworks, pathways, toilet and change facilities and parking.
Touched by Oliva Foundation CEO, Bec Ho said “We know how important it is to invite and include every person to play. Communities need places where you belong, regardless of age or ability.”
Livvi’s Place Warragamba is on track to be ready for play in 18-24 months. The next step will be to design the dream with the community.
The Perkins Family loaded up their station wagon and headed to the beautiful Sapphire Coast for the opening of Livvi’s Place Merimbula, our 19th inclusive playspace.
Joined by the Bega Valley Shire Council team, Minister and all round legend Andrew Constance and our wonderful friends from the Rotary Club of Merimbula, speeches were shared, ribbon snipped and confetti canons detonated. The community embraced the fancy dress theme and had a wonderful morning at Livvi’s Place.
Special thanks to our supporters, Bega Cheese and the Primary Club, for their generosity. Livvi’s Place Merimbula is located in Ford Park.
Will you run for fun?
Touched by Olivia is hosting a ‘Family Fun Run’ at Livvi’s Place, Five Dock, every Sunday, commencing on the 24th April at 4pm. This is a timed 2km and 4km run for all ages and all abilities, followed by a free BBQ and ice block. The cost is $5 per runner or $20 per family.
Touched by Olivia and Lendlease today joined the Hon. Stuart Ayres MP, Member for Penrith, and representatives from Penrith City Council to celebrate the start of construction of the newest inclusive playspace in Australia, Livvi’s Place at Jordan Springs.
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.
After five years of fundraising and planning, the Hon. Stuart Ayres MP, Member for Penrith, and General Manager for Lendlease’s Communities business in NSW/ACT, Arthur Ilias, shared the honour of turning the sod on the project site, which will see the construction of the 2,400m2 space.
Stuart Ayres said, “Inclusive playspaces like Livvi’s Place serve as a great social outlet for all children, allowing them to build friendships and enable them to live healthy and active lives.”
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 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, a performance stage and picnic areas at the nearby Northern Road Oval.
Justine Perkins founded the Touched by Olivia Foundation in 2007 after the death of her daughter Olivia and has since built 18 inclusive playspaces across Australia.
“Playing together is how kids learn how to be accepting of others. We are building public spaces that invite kids with differences to play side by side with all of their community. It is our obligation as a society to make inclusion a priority. 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.”
Arthur Ilias said the new playground by Touched by Olivia will be another great space for residents of all ages and abilities.
“Livvi’s Place is part of our ongoing commitment to providing a sense of place and belonging at our communities. We look forward to watching the community come together in what will be a magical space,” said Mr Ilias.
Livvi’s Place Jordan Springs is the result of a collaborative partnership between a corporations, not-for-profit organisation and state and local government. It has been championed by Penrith City Council.
Penrith Mayor Karen McKeown said, “This is going to be a showpiece inclusive playground for the City and region. People of all ages and abilities will be able to enjoy leisure time here with their family and friends for many years to come.
“Council is proud to be part of this state-of-the-art playground, which is a great example of local government, not-for-profit organisations and developers working closely together for the benefit of the community. “
The playground will also feature personalised pavers and trees donated to Touched by Olivia by businesses and the community. The park is scheduled for completion by late 2016.
As part of Jordan Springs’ development, Lendlease is providing sporting fields with hard courts, amenities and parking, lakes and water bodies, and 17 hectares of open space with parks, playgrounds and picnic areas.
To stay up to date, join our Friends of Livvi’s Place group here.
The Victorian Government has announced it will contribute $600,000 towards Hume City Council’s inclusive playspace at Craigieburn Park. Hume Mayor, Councillor Helen Patsikatheodorou, said the pledge was exciting news.
“This is a real win for Craigieburn, and the generations of children who will love what is set to be called Livvi’s Place,” Cr Patsikatheodorou said.
“The Victorian Government’s pledge will make a big difference as we create an area that can allow children to enjoy the wonders of play, regardless of their background or ability.
“Livvi’s Place will help children to gain fantastic skills, as its features enable youngsters to create, problem solve, and be independent.
“Hume will situate Livvi’s Place in the middle of Craigieburn Park, where the playspace will be popular for its slides, tunnels, swings, bridges, cubby house, and carousel.
“It shall be a place where families can gather and enjoy a wonderful time, thanks to timber seats, BBQs, picnic lawns, and shelter.
“Livvi’s Place is set to be a great park for children who love to explore, and it will also help Hume’s young people to get some exercise.”
The new playspace is intended to support one of Australia’s fastest growing suburbs, with Craigieburn’s population expected to jump from 44,000 in 2016 to 65,000 in 2031.
More than four per cent of Hume residents aged younger than nine suffer from a disability and require assistance.
Hume City Council in conjunction with Aspect Studio’s and Architect’s Peddle Thorp, has designed Livvi’s Place with technical advice provided by the Touched by Olivia Foundation, an organisation founded by John and Justine Perkins after their daughter, Olivia, died from a rare illness.
Cr Patsikatheodorou said Hume had asked many people about what they would like to see at Livvi’s Place.
“Our designers spoke with children at schools like Mount Ridley College, Willmot Park Primary School and Aitken Creek Primary School,” she said. “We also consulted with parents of children with disabilities, and people told us that they wanted things like musical elements, crunchy surfaces and fences.
“Hume City Council and the Touched by Olivia Foundation have incorporated these suggestions in the playspace’s concept plan, which was released in draft form in late 2015. Livvi’s Place will be an area that inspires so many, and it’s something everyone can look forward to.”
Craigieburn Park is to be situated near Craigieburn Central Shopping Centre, in a 12.14 hectare area bounded by Aitken Boulevard, Marathon Boulevard, Windrock Avenue, and Central Park Avenue.
The $48.5 million site shall include an aquatic and leisure centre, athletics track, war memorial, lush parklands, and a car park.
Cr Patsikatheodorou said the Victorian Government would support Livvi’s Place through the Interface Growth Fund.
“We’re very grateful that Minister Natalie Hutchins has established a fund to support infrastructure in the expanding outer suburbs of Melbourne,” she said. “I want to particularly thank the State Member for Yuroke, Ros Spence, who has helped to advocate on behalf of the inclusive playspace.”
The northern elements of Craigieburn Park are is expected to open in mid 2016 with the new Cragieburn Regional Aquatic and Leisure Centre opening in 2017.
Local primary schools around Sydney are participating the Handball Championships through November and December in celebration of i-day.
We believe that great things are achieved through building an ecosystem of like minded people, that leverage each other’s ideas and efforts so that the sum of the parts is greater than what otherwise would have been achieved.
Strategic partnerships are key to this vision, at all levels. By definition, strategic partnerships need to benefit all parties involved. Our strategic partnerships include the 4 pillars of Government, Corporate, NGO and Community, for example:
1. The Government sector – It is essential, in order to ensure success of any of our projects, to have endorsed sponsorship from Federal and State members. At a local government level, both political and executive ownership and sponsorship allows many “barriers” to be removed, so we can focus on the outcome of our vision: that all children can play side by side, regardless of their ability. In return, the government sector achieves much more effective infrastructure with a lower funding model.
2. Corporate Sector – Essential to providing much needed funding and expertise. In return, corporate organisations with a focus in the construction and engineering sectors achieve significant cultural and branding benefits, as staff utilise their skills to work that will be a visible symbol of their efforts for a decade or more.
3. NGOs – We believe in partnering with all NGOs, that share a common vision of Inclusion. We are not in competition with other NGOs, and openly share all information, contacts and practices to achieve a greater common good. We work closely with senior research and academic organisations to bring their expertise to the coal face of Inclusive Design.
4. Community – Each project has a community driver that enables true community ownership of each project. The Community Drivers utilise the TBOF Community Driver Packs, that provide templates for fund raising, community consultation, corporate sponsorship, etc.
Through working with all sectors of society in strategic partnerships, more will be achieved with less.
To compliment our work into creating a more inclusive society through inclusive playspaces, Touched by Olivia has developed the Livvi’s Cafe social enterprise business model.
The concept is:
1. Touched by Olivia is a national charity that ensures 100% of every dollar raised goes directly to projects. Every coffee sold at a Livvi’s Cafe = a 20 cent donation to Touched by Olivia, increasing our sustainability.
2. We provide employment opportunities for young people with disabilities.
3. We activate the community with programs on site.
Touched by Olivia is excited to partner with Stockland to deliver our third Livvi’s Cafe in Western Australia, in the City of Cockburn. We are inviting interested business operators to express their interest in our very unique business model. Please download the document below or contact email@example.com for more information.
“It starts with play and continues through to the work force…”
Brendon delivered a touching speech, short and sweet advocating for playspaces such as Livvi’s Place as the foundation for learning and growth.
Today marked the official opening of Livvi’s Cafe, Elara with Stockland and TBO members present to celebrate with Brendon and Deb, cafe owners, their family and local community.
All were welcomed by the smell of freshly made coffee, uniting the big kids.
The Playspace and laughter uniting the little kids.
With many happy faces in attendance on this beautiful Sunday morning, the ribbon was cut and Livvi’s Cafe Elara is ready to welcome every member of the community!
Touched by Olivia invites you all to explore Livvi’s Cafe at Stockland Elara, Marsden Park.
“In July, I represented Touched By Olivia at Beit Issie Shapiro’s 6th International Conference on Disability, in Tel Aviv, Israel.
I gave a presentation on the benefits of inclusive public playgrounds and also gave some onsite feedback to Beit Issie Shapiro on their first inclusive playground.
The conference was strongly focused on the creation of an inclusive society that valued everyone for their contribution.
To that end the majority of the presentations looked at ways to remove the barriers and stigma that those with a disability often encounter.
One presentation I saw was from a Portuguese academic who had designed and built a robot that allowed autistic children to practice social skills in a non-threatening manner.
This experience reinforced to me how important vision and innovation are if we are to achieve the goal of an inclusive society.”
The community is invited to join in the celebrations when the Deputy Mayor officially opens the highly-anticipated Livvi’s Place in Lyndhurst – the first inclusive playspace of its kind in south-east Victoria.
Council has worked in partnership with the Touched by Olivia (TBO) Foundation to deliver the playspace, located at the Marriott Waters Recreation Reserve, designed so that children of all ages and all abilities can play side-by-side.
The project is almost complete and will be officially opened by the Deputy Mayor, Cr Louise Berkelmans, on Sunday 13 September 2015 as part of a celebration hosted by TBO. City of Casey Mayor Cr Mick Morland said Council was excited to open this playspace to the community and encouraged residents to come along to the celebrations and ceremony.
“This playspace responds to the growing demand for a location in this region that allows children of all abilities to play together in a purposely designed environment. Council has worked closely with TBO to develop a space that is truly inclusive and accessible to all members of our community and we are excited that it will soon be open for everyone to enjoy.
“Every detail needs to be considered for a space to be truly inclusive and the design of Livvi’s Place reflects that, with accessible pathways, passive areas, sensory and tactile play spaces, ramps to equipment, full-fencing and accessible parking.
“There’s play equipment suitable for children of all abilities, including a double flying fox, slide, basket swing, climbing mound and net, interactive panels and a wheelchair carousel. As the only playspace of its kind this side of Melbourne, Council hopes this will become a destination for people across the region to meet and socialise while their children play,” Cr Morland concluded.
TBO Executive Officer Bec Ho said Livvi’s Place would be a much-loved gathering place and bring lots of enjoyment to so many in the community: “We have been fortunate to have the support of Therese Howell as our volunteer community driver for the project. Therese has brought together a group of passionate and committed people who have helped to design, fund and now build Livvi’s Place.
“I am delighted to see this beautiful place open and become a special space where all people can play, side by side, for many decades to come. That is true inclusion,” Ms Ho said.
Livvi’s Place will be officially opened on Sunday 13 September 2015 with Council’s ceremony at 11:30 am and celebrations to run throughout the day between 11:00 am and 2:00 pm hosted by TBO. The celebrations will include a barbecue, roving performers, a sing-along with children’s entertainer Jay Laga’aia, performances from local disability groups and face painting.
Livvi’s Place is located at Marriott Waters Recreation Reserve, Boland Drive, Lyndhurst.
The playspace represents an investment of more than $1.1 million, with Council contributing almost $900,000, the Victorian Government contributing $49,688 towards shade sails under the Department of Health’s Shade Grants program and the rest funded by business, individual and community contributions in support of TBO.
We are delighted by the success of our first year of running Livvi’s cafe in Five Dock. The City of Canada Bay have continued to support our social enterprise. Pop down for cup of tea or coffee today!
Look out for our brand new play space re-opening in December 2015.
Thanks to our recent grant from the Stockland CARE Foundation, TBO is in the position to hire some much needed bodies to help us continue our work to build a more inclusive Australia.
The two job descriptions are able to be downloaded by clicking on the link below.
We are also using a grant from the Charitable Office Products Christmas Party to hire a contract Campaign Manager for All Kids Can Play.