Touched by Olivia Foundation was honoured today with the World Leisure Innovation Award for developing a framework for inclusive playgrounds and advocating that play is for everyone in Australia.

Founding Director John Perkins was thrilled to finish the week with the announcement. “We received some great news. Overnight we have been informed that we have won the 2011 World Leisure International Innovation Award for our groundbreaking strategy to build inclusive playgrounds in Australia. For us, this is the ultimate award that we could hope to win!”

John’s wife and fellow founder Justine Perkins highlighted the rapid expansion of the network in response to communities needs.

“Our plan mapped out 42 sites, including the 3 outdoor playgrounds that have been opened in Five Dock, Dubbo and Brisbane. We’re now in development in Perth, Ryde, Melbourne, Penrith and Jindabyne with many new opportunities being unearthed weekly.”

This award is recognition for the hard work and generosity of Touched by Olivia Foundations supporters, sponsors, partners and volunteers.

In November, Touched by Olivia Foundation will accept this award at the World Leisure Expo in Hangzhau, China as part of the World Leisure Expo and present their strategy to an international contingent.

About Livvi’s Place Inclusive Playspace Network

In the darkest grief an adult might experience – the loss of an infant – two inspiring parents decided that their daughter’s death would not be in vain. Touched by Olivia Foundation was formed in Australia in 2006 with the key objectives to help create happier and healthier lives for children.

To gain a complete understanding of the foundation’s work, please view this overview video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=Ego7KspIwK0&feature=related

In 2007, our first Livvi’s Place was birthed as an indoor facility in Campbelltown. Touched by Olivia Foundation initially wanted to build one more outdoor playground as a memorial to Olivia, the baby who’s passing had been the catalyst for change. As the committee and stakeholders began researching, they found that there was a need for truly inclusive play facilities in Australia, where children could play side by side, regardless of their abilities. Livvi’s Place in Five Dock was born. This play facility has been awarded the Best Playspace in Australia from Parks and Leisure Australia and has seen an increase in visitation from 150 to 1800 people per week.

The inclusive design has created a space that is more than a playground – Livvi’s Place has become a community hub, and a valued asset for the community. Please view this short clip regarding the facilities impact on the community here: http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=0u5Nk22a5C4&feature=related


What makes the WLO Prize unique?

The major component that differentiates the Innovation Prize from the myriad of other awards (especially for tourism projects) is that it focuses on the social and cultural aspects of leisure as an aspect of the lived experience for individuals in a community and for visitors to the community. This Prize represents the use of leisure as a creative solution to enhancing collectively the social, cultural, environmental, and economic quality of life in an area. The WLO Prize seeks to recognize organizations that have implemented creative solutions that foster local, national, or international leisure opportunities for the benefit and development of individuals and communities. Leisure is considered in its broadest sense including play, recreation, the arts and culture, sports, festivals and celebrations, health and fitness, or travel and tourism. It encompasses indoor or outdoor programs, services, and amenities.

What is meant by Innovation?

Originality, creativity, and innovation should be demonstrated related to process (vision, management, and communications), resources (financial viability and human such as volunteers), partnerships and community involvement, outputs (program, events, and amenities) and outcomes. Further, the project should be “inspirational” or demonstrate a “feel good” factor. Innovation may mean a new idea or it may mean finding creative solutions through leisure to existing problems and issues. Innovations must demonstrate more than a quality program. In addition, applicants must demonstrate that their project does not exist elsewhere but it could be potentially adapted to other situations.”