Touched by Olivia Foundation is proud to announce that we’ll start building our first inclusive playground in Victoria in early 2013, allowing children, parents and community members of all abilities and ages to play side-by-side.

Unlike normal playgrounds, the award winning TBO network of inclusive playgrounds cater forvision, hearing and mobility impairments as well as spectrum disorders such as autism.

“We are so pleased to improve the health and happiness of Victorian kids by catering to the physical and emotional needs of all members of the community,” says Rebecca Ho, Touched by Olivia Foundation Playground Project Manager.

“Through this project, children of all abilities will have equal opportunity to learn, grow and develop through play.”

Brimbank City Council has allocated space for the playground within their master-plan for the overhaul of Errington Precinct in St Albans. The playground will be a valuable contribution to the City of Brimbank which is ethnically diverse and, according to the 2011 Census, the most populous municipality in Melbourne’s West. Also throw into the mix that residents have one of the lowest median household incomes and more than 3,000 residents in St Albans are unpaid carers to people with a disability, and it becomes obvious the need is huge.

The not-for-profit community initiative is made possible through generous corporate support, including a major sponsorship by Commonwealth Bank. The Bank became involved when they asked staff how they would like to give back to local communities to help mark their Centenary year, and this was one of 10 winning ideas chosen to become a reality.

“It instils a sense of pride that as a Branch Manager for Commonwealth Bank, my staff and I have been encouraged to identify and support deserving local community initiatives. This being Commonwealth Bank’s Centenary year, there has been an even greater emphasis on how we can positively impact local communities. This project in particular resonates with many people, as it is doing something for families who have the huge day-to-day responsibility for caring for those less fortunate,” Commonwealth Bank St Albans Branch Manager, Thao Parsons, says.

It is the mission of the TBO Foundation to create an inclusive playground in as many communities across Australia as possible. There are currently four operational inclusive playgrounds in Australia, with St Albans, Ryde NSW, Penrith NSW, Perth and Jindabyne NSW all planned to open in late 2012 and first half of 2013. Construction of the St Albans playground is scheduled to begin.

A great video highlighting this partnership is available to view here.