A children’s charity focused on creating inclusive community playgrounds announced the latest project will be in the Illawarra, after Wollongong City Council donated $125,000 of its playground upgrade funding to the project.

Corrimal Memorial Park will be the home of Touched by Olivia Foundation’s next playground, and part of a national strategy to create inclusive play grounds in 42 sites across Australia.
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.

The concept was started by the Touched by Olivia Foundation at Livvi’s Place, Five Dock, which was completed in November 2009, as a tribute to the tragic loss of 8 month old Olivia Perkins who died of a rare disease called Lymphangioma.

Sean Rapley, a local community driver for the Touched by Olivia Foundation said that he was excited about the possibilities this partnership created.

“Having a child with special needs means I understand first hand the difficulties families face when trying to find spaces for us to be together. We want our special needs kids to be part of our community, and we want our special needs kids to be become accepted and valued in our communities. It all starts in the playground when our children are young. That is what makes this park such a wonderful idea” Sean said.
“I’m a local resident and I knew that we really needed this opportunity for our community. My wife Rita and I are looking forward to working with Wollongong City Council and the wider community to create this playground for all children.”

A stakeholder feedback forum will be held on November 3, 2012 at Corrimal Community Centre.

“This is a great opportunity for local families to tell the playground designers what they and their children need in the playground design, and it is also an opportunity to meet and become part of the community support group helping to make this playground to become a reality.” Sean said.

Wollongong City Lord Mayor, Councillor Gordon Bradbery, OAM, was excited about the development of the park.

“All children should have the opportunity to play, to have fun in a park or playground, and to be among friends. The Illawarra Inclusive Playground is where children and parents of all abilities and ages can play side-by-side,” Councillor Bradbery said.

The Illawarra Inclusive Playground Project is gratefully being supported by the community, council and government at various levels but still needs to raise funds for the development of the park.