Mir­ror, mir­ror on the wall…

Hills to Hawkesbury Living Magazine - - Community News - Carmel Lid­dell STORY AND PHOTOS BY

Kel­lyville’s in­clu­sive play­ground is the fairest of them all! The up­graded Bernie Mul­lane Re­serve play space (re-opened in 2017), now ticks the right boxes. It in­vites chil­dren of all ages and all abil­i­ties to have fun side by side. And it’s called, Livvi’s Place.

In 2006, fol­low­ing the loss of their daugh­ter Olivia to a rare dis­ease, the Perkins fam­ily formed the Touched by Olivia Foun­da­tion. Its goal was, and is, to make chil­dren’s lives hap­pier and health­ier. Through ex­ten­sive re­search, ad­vo­cacy and guide­lines based on the Uni­ver­sal De­sign Prin­ci­ples, the foun­da­tion helps com­mu­ni­ties cre­ate play­grounds that en­cour­age so­cial in­clu­sion, through play. Its cus­tom made equip­ment and ameni­ties re­duce the bar­ri­ers ex­pe­ri­enced by those with spe­cial needs. In 2010, the first Livvi’s Place (Five Dock) was so suc­cess­ful, that Parks and Leisure Aus­tralia named it the coun­try’s best play space.

Livvi’s Place in Kel­lyville has park­ing and se­cure fenc­ing. In­side the play­ground are ac­ces­si­ble path­ways, sen­sory and tac­tile play and art­works, plus soft fall rub­ber floor­ing. Gar­dens, shade sails, BBQ and pic­nic zones all add to its charm, mak­ing Livvi’s a firm favourite with fam­i­lies and so­cial groups. There’s a Lib­erty Swing, a world­first in­ven­tion by Wayne Devine whose dream was for chil­dren with dis­abil­i­ties to ex­pe­ri­ence the joy of swing­ing. Twelve years later, in 2000, Devine’s first Lib­erty swing was in­stalled in Old’s Park, Pen­shurst. To­day, in ad­di­tion to a bright yel­low Lib­erty swing, Livvi’s Place is home to the usual sus­pects - climb­ing ropes, in-built mini tram­po­lines, slip­pery dips, swings, sand pit, step­ping ‘stones’, tun­nels, a wa­ter play area - and more. There are op­por­tu­ni­ties for in­ter­gen­er­a­tional play. Adults too, are de­lighted by the oldies but good­ies! It’s hard to re­sist tapping on the out­door xy­lo­phone, an in­stru­ment which has been in ex­is­tence since 500 AD. Or, to re­sist a ‘long dis­tance’ con­ver­sa­tion with lit­tle ones via the bright blue voice pipe, a method of com­mu­ni­ca­tion used by ships as early as 1803.

So, if you’re seek­ing an in­clu­sive play­ground, just ask any magic mir­ror close at hand – whose is the fairest in the land? The an­swer you’ll find, will come quickly to mind ~ Livvi’s Place! ~

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