In 2012, the federal government granted funding to a foundation called Touched by Olivia, to develop a set of guidelines for defining what inclusive play spaces are. The process was very in-depth, seeing Bec Ho from Touched by Olivia consulting with some of Australia’s most experienced landscape architects, academics, non-government and advocacy organisations to create a document that could simply and clearly define what a play space required if it were to be considered inclusive.
The result is based around six key factors. An inclusive play space must cover the following principles:
- Everyone can play – not everyone can play on everything, but there is something there for everyone.
- Access to nature – assist and maintain a connection with nature.
- Total Experience – the total experience should invite all members of the community to enjoy the social and health benefit of play.
- A connection to community – the community has been engaged in the process and there has been participation beyond consultation, resurrecting the “village” vibe.
- Play independence (I can do it myself!) – offers and encourages play experiences for people of all abilities that promote independence and sense of mastery.
- Friendship – offers and encourages play experiences for people of all abilities that promote, plan and design for spaces to gather and share within, or surrounding the play space.
The Hendrie Street Reserve’s Inclusive Playspace is the first of its kind in South Australia. Developed by Bec Ho in the Eastern states of Australia to encompass the above six principles, it was co-funded by the federal government and the City of Marion council, who sought further community input to make the vision a reality. The community engagement came in the form of financial support for the Touched by Olivia foundation for the project, which Terrain Group happily contributed to over the past couple of years. In addition to this financial support, Terrain Group donated a picnic setting to the space, to match the several Daintree settings and courtyard seats that had already been ordered.
Construction by Plotworks has been completed and the inclusive play space at Hendrie Street is due to open on Friday 10th August at 10:30pm. Terrain Group will be hosting a free barbecue for everyone attending the park’s opening. Amongst the guests at the opening will be the project’s visionary, Bec Ho, South Australia’s Governor the Honourable Hieu Van Le AC, and two nearby special needs school groups.
We would also like to thank Coles, Foodland and Baker’s Delight for their support in helping us to put on the BBQ at the opening of the Hendrie Street inclusive play space.
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