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Australia's First All Abilities Playground


  • Published: 2009-11-02 (Revised/Updated 2010-07-05) : Author: Touched By Olivia Foundation
  • Synopsis: Livvis Place at Timbrell Park is the initiative of the Touched by Olivia Foundation and the result of a unique partnership of three founding partners.

John and Justine Perkins, a young couple from St Marks Parish in Drummoyne, have turned their personal tragedy into a triumph for Australian children of all abilities.

Following the loss of their 8 month-old baby daughter Olivia to a rare illness called Lymphangioma, the couple founded the Touched by Olivia Foundation to bring health and happiness to children and families.

At the 3rd Annual Family Fun Fair on Sunday 15 November, this unique 100% volunteer driven organization will officially open Livvi's Place, Timbrell Park - Australia's first 'truly' all abilities playground that aims to dramatically reduce the barriers experienced by children with special needs, thereby giving them a level playing field for life.

Livvi's Place at Timbrell Park is the initiative of the Touched by Olivia Foundation and the result of a unique partnership of three founding partners, Touched by Olivia Foundation, City of Canada Bay and Leighton Contractors.

Following extensive research and consultation with authorities (in their field) including leading academics, play, disability and landscape experts, the partners have taken a holistic approach to address the needs of children with multiple forms of disability including: mobility, vision and hearing impairment as well as spectrum disorders such as autism to ensure a safe, secure environment where all children can play.

John Perkins, founder of Touched by Olivia Foundation said, "This is an Australian first and thanks to the founding partners, together we have been able to create Australia's first truly all abilities playground setting a benchmark in world's best practice in playgrounds for kids with special needs."

Monsignor Vince Redden, of St Marks Parish praised the commitment of John and Justine Perkins in their service to the community saying, "I've known John for almost 30 years. In that time he has always shown a quiet dedication to others in the community however, following the family's tragic loss, both John and Justine have shown tremendous courage, not only in overcoming their loss but, by turning their loss into something that will have a tremendous impact on this and I'm sure many communities in the future."

The unique design of the playground and equipment enables children and parents of all abilities and ages to play side-by-side on the same equipment, regardless of age or ability, ensuring integration of children with special needs.

Sandra Casinader, mother of Kingsley and Indira (both have autism) is looking forward to the opening of Livvi's Place saying, "When I saw the plans and read the detailed description I felt like someone has walked in my shoes and really get's what goes on with children with spectrum disorders.

I actually started crying by the time I got to the details of the play equipment because every single thing that makes it so difficult for us and many of my friends in a similar situation to use a "typical" playground has been so completely addressed; the attention to detail is astounding," she said.

Mayor Angelo Tsirekas of the City of Canada Bay said, "The opening of Livvi's Place is a fantastic achievement and a great milestone for everyone who has been a part of this project."

"Council has worked closely with Touched by Olivia and Leighton Contractors to bring Livvi's Place to fruition and I would like to thank everyone who has been involved along the way."

Mr Perkins invited everyone to join in the fun at the 3rd Annual Family Fun Fair and celebrate the opening of Livvi's Place Timbrell Park - an Australian first that promises to improve the health and happiness of children.

'By bringing Olivia's Touch to others in need, we aim to create a positive change in the future of all our children,' Mr Perkins said.

Family Fun Fair
Date Sunday 15 November 2008
Event Time 10:00am - 4:00pm
Media Call 9:50am - 11:30am (official opening of Livvi's Place)
Location: Timbrell Park, Henley Marine Drive, Five Dock

About Touched By Olivia Foundation

Touched by Olivia Foundation raises vital funds for healthier, happier kids

Founded by John and Justine Perkins in 2006, creating the Touched by Olivia Foundation (TBOF) was their way of finding a positive meaning arising from the tragic loss of their baby girl Olivia, at only 8 months-of-age to a rare disease called Lymphangioma. This is their way of bringing Olivia's touch to others by creating a positive change to the lives and futures of other children.

TBOF is a registered health promotion charity with deductible gift recipient status. All donations of $2 or more are tax deductible. The Foundation operates at zero overheads with 100% of all donations supporting the TBOF initiatives.

The TBOF Initiatives Include:

1. Supporting the Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick in funding medical advancement through research and the purchase of much needed equipment
2. Working with local councils and communities to raise funds to upgrade playgrounds to an all abilities standard to give children of all abilities the opportunity to play together. The playgrounds will be called "Livvi's Place"
3. Partnering with other children's charities, such as Good Beginnings Australia, to produce and deliver parenting programs aimed at nurturing and improving the well-being of children and family life

Touched by Olivia - Livvi's Place - Promoting Health & Happiness of Our Kids
In addition to creating opportunities for children of all abilities to play together, Livvi's Place aims to help reduce childhood obesity through creating and promoting better facilities for outdoor play which provide graduated challenges for prolonged interest.

Did you know that:

24% of Australian children are obese
62% of Australian families have both parents working
Australians have experienced a 45% increase in high density living over the last 20 years
25% + of Australian kids spend 4+ hrs per day in front of TV
NSW has the lowest spend per capita on parks and playgrounds
Heart disease is now one of the leading causes of death in 4-14 year-olds

Contacts for Touched by Olivia Foundation

Justine Perkins M: 0414 207 495
E: justine.perkins@touchedbyolivia.com.au
John Perkins M: 0415 607 055
E: john.perkins@toucedbyolivia.com.au
W: www.touchedbyolivia.com.au

About Family Fun Fair & Livvi's Place

THE FAMILY FUN FAIR

The Family Fun Fair offers fabulous fun for the whole family including:

FREE kids entertainment featuring:
Go! Diego! Go!
Jay Laga'aia Show
Heaps of amusement rides, petting zoo, pony rides
Right Push skateboarding clinics all day and demonstrations
FREE Kids art and craft, fantastic prizes, face painting, crazy hair
FREE Kids Disco
Sporting legends from Balmain Tigers and Sydney FC
Great prizes: sporting memorabilia, Apple iPhone, Sony Playstation, box at Sydney FC game
Yummy food stalls, great coffee and gelato
Over 50 market stalls - fabulous for Christmas presents!

Many sponsors have helped to make this event such a resounding success every year including, Balmain Tigers, Audi Five Dock, Birkenhead Point Shopping Center, Canada Bay Club, City of Canada Bay, G Fitness, Top Ryde Shopping Center.

For more information on the Family Fun Fair, visit our website at www.familyfunfair.com.au
All money raised from Family Fun Fair 09 will contribute towards Phase 2 of the "Livvi's Place" all-abilities playground at Timbrell Park, Five Dock.

LIVVI'S PLACE, TIMBRELL PARK, FIVE DOCK - FLAGSHIP FOR TBOF & AN AUSTRALIAN FIRST

The Livvi's Place all abilities playground concept is the initiative of the Touched by Olivia Foundation (TBOF) in their mission to help improve the health and happiness of Australian kids. Livvi's Place, Timbrell Park - which is being delivered by three founding partners (TBOF, City of Canada Bay and Leighton Contractors) - will be an Australian first in the area of playgrounds for children of all abilities and is a triumph in world's best practice playground design.

Innovative Partnerships - Founding Partners

Touched by Olivia Foundation
City of Canada Bay
Leighton Contractors

The Touched by Olivia Foundation, City of Canada Bay and Leighton Contractors Pty Limited have initiated a unique government, corporate, community alliance to build this innovative playground.

This is the first community partnership model of its kind involving a community based not-for-profit, council and business and is endorsed by the NSW Department of Local Government.

Unique Objectives

Livvi's Place, Timbrell Park will be a flagship all abilities playground that aims to dramatically reduce the barriers experienced by children with special needs, thereby giving them a level playing field for life.

Through developing community awareness of special needs children, Livvi's Place will provide the platform promoting equality of special needs children to play with children without special needs, social inclusion and integration of families with or without disabilities.

It is the vision of TBOF that Livvi's Place, Timbrell Park becomes the benchmark and catalyst that inspires communities to engage community leaders and replicate the all abilities playground model across multiple Australian communities.

Innovation in Design

The design of Livvi's Place, Timbrell Park is one of global best practice in all inclusive, all abilities, inter-generational playgrounds to address the needs of children with multiple forms of disability including: mobility, vision impaired, hearing impaired and spectrum disorders including Autism.

The playground design was created in consultation with leading playground experts, disability specialists, architects, playground and early childhood academics including:

Rebecca Hartly Play Safe
Wendy Shepherd Macquarie University - Mia Mia
Ann Roberts Principal, Lucas Gardens School - for student with special needs
" Kate Biship Play For All's - expert in spectrum disorders
Margo Ward Chief Executive Officer - Kids Xpress - expert on childhood behavior

Distinctive Special Features

Children and parents of all abilities and ages can play side-by-side on the same equipment, ensuring integration of children and families with special needs.

The holistic design of Livvi's Place incorporates unique features that accommodate the needs of children with a multiple variety of disabilities ensuring a safe, secure environment for all children to play.

Features include:

Livvi's Place is inter-generational - Play equipment has been uniquely designed to enable a parent, grandparent, carer or sibling to play side-by-side on the same equipment as the child with the disability regardless of age or ability
Pathways with color strips and no visible breaks in path ways
All play items can be viewed from the path enabling children with spectrum disorders to first assess the area to ensure they feel secure enough to play
Newly designed and largest carousel of its type, with dual speed controller
Newly designed tandem bull rider, allowing parent or sibling to swing with a child
Newly designed birds nest swing, allowing parents or sibling to swing with a child
Newly designed special slide, allowing parents or sibling to sit behind and support a child

Playground Construction

Leighton Contractors, one of Australia's leading contracting and development groups, is overseeing the playground delivery, including playground design finalization, subcontractor sourcing and management, and coordination of all on site works during construction.

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