About Livvi’s Place National Network
Why do we need inclusive playspaces?
In the darkest grief an adult might experience, two inspiring parents decided that their daughter’s death would not be in vain. Touched by Olivia was formed in Australia in 2006 by the Perkins’ Family, following the loss of Olivia, their baby daughter, to a rare disease. With a strategy aimed at creating healthier and happier lives for children, our core focus centres on creating inclusive playspaces across Australia.
Through play, we learn how to be part of society. Play is a fundamental part of childhood, and according to the United Nations it is a child’s right to enjoy play and leisure.
Touched by Olivia has created a unique model based on partnership by bringing together communities, government and corporate Australia to deliver special places that change the way our society plays. Through extensive research, advocacy and guidelines based on the Universal Design Principles, we assist communities to create special places that encourage and invite social inclusion through play.
Many playspaces in Australia do not meet the needs of their community. Physical disabilities, coupled with childhood disorders, and the ever- changing demographic of stay at home carers, means that every detail needs to be considered for a space to be truly inclusive. It’s not about installing a liberty swing and a few ramps up to a slippery slide. It means designing and creating custom made, accessible and intergenerational play equipment and amenities, incorporating accessible pathways, passive areas, sensory and tactile play and artworks, graduated challenges, points of recognition and visual cues, fencing, accessible parking and bus drop off zones.
A Livvi’s Place provides a unique environment for children of all ages and all abilities to play side by side. Extensive research and community consultation have gone into the development of these Playspaces to make them truly world class facilities. In 2012, Touched by Olivia joined with leading academics, practitioners, not for profit and NGO’s and developed a best practice guideline to assist decision makers, advocates and designers looking to create an inclusive playspace. The 6 principles of inclusive play are:
- Everyone can play
- Access to nature
- Total experience
- A connection to community
- Play independence
Detailed information, case studies and references can be found at www.inclusiveplayspace.com.
The aim of the Touched By Olivia Foundation is to work in partnership with local councils and corporations to build and maintain state of the art inclusive playspaces, encouraging families and social groups to meet in a child friendly environment.
Equal Access – each playspace includes some soft fall rubber flooring, visual and audio stimulation and are configured to maximise creative, physical, social and cognitive play
Security and safety – totally fenced so parents have peace of mind as to the location of their children. Shaded for protection from the elements.
Facilities for older children and family get togethers – ideally, the playspace adjoins or incorporate facilities:
- For the enjoyment of older children, such as swimming facilities, skate parks, bike tracks and playing ovals
- To enable family BBQs and get togethers like tables and benches and toilet facilities.
- Providing ample and accessible parking
- That overall, create a family friendly environment where people choose to meet and socialise whilst their children play
Replicable design – the playspaces have features which can be replicated in any community park.
Thanks to the NSW Government, Touched by Olivia is proud to say that its efforts in advocating for inclusive playspaces across all communities have found their place. The Everyone Can Play Guidelines are now the governing principles for all inclusive playspace projects across the State of NSW, a guidelines that is quickly being adopted across Australia. As a leader of change for good, Touched by Olivia is pink with pride that inclusive playspaces will be the standard from which all major playgrounds will be built. Have a read of the guidelines here.