When Sydney children of all ages and abilities were finally able to play side-by-side thanks to the opening of Livvi’s Place, Australia’s very first all abilities playground, actor and father of 8, Jay Laga’aia (pictured) was there, celebrating alongside Justine and John Perkins, founders of the Touched by Olivia Foundation.
Located at Timbrell Park at Five Dock in Sydney, Livvi’s Place is an initiative of the Touched by Olivia Foundation and is the result of more than two years of collaboration with founding partners, City of Canada Bay and Leighton Contractors. The all abilities playground was officially opened yesterday amid a crowd of excited parents and children, all keen to explore what some families of children with disabilities have called; a magical place and a dream come true.
Designed in consultation with leading academics, play, disability, and landscape experts and the local community, Livvi’s Place aims to dramatically reduce the barriers experienced by children with special needs and their families, helping to give them a level playing field for life.
Livvi’s place was built for children with all forms of disability and from all parts of Sydney. The playground’s unique design and equipment addresses the needs of children with various forms of disability including mobility, vision and hearing impairment as well as spectrum disorders such as autism.
When the gates to Livvi’s Place were finally opened, ambassador for Touched by Olivia Foundation Jay Laga’aia, was there to see the hundreds of parents and children enjoy this remarkable playground.
“It’s fabulous seeing so many families with children of all shapes, sizes and abilities play together for the very first time on specially designed playground equipment. It was an absolute joy,” said Jay Laga’aia.
“The level of detail that the Touched by Olivia Foundation and their partners, have gone to, to create this incredible resource that will make so many kids and families from around Sydney happy, is remarkable,” he said.
Families are already becoming aware of the difference that the Livvi’s Place will mean for them, including Sandra Casinader who is the mother of two children with autism.
“When I saw the playground, I actually started crying 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,” Mrs Casinader said.
The Touched by Olivia Foundation (TBOF) was founded in 2006 by John and Justine Perkins as a way of finding positive meaning from the tragic loss of their baby daughter Olivia, who at just 8 months-of-age died from a rare disease called Lymphangioma.
“Since Touched by Olivia Foundation was established, our aims have been to bring health and happiness to kids and their families. With the opening of Livvi’s Place, we feel we are well on our way to achieving this vision,” John Perkins said.
“Thanks to the commitment of our founding partners, Leighton Contractors and City of Canada Bay Council, and significant community support, together we have been able to realise a dream and create an Australian first that promises to have a significant impact on many families.”
All donations of $2 or more are gratefully received and fully tax deductible with 100% of every donation contributing to Touched by Olivia initiatives bringing health and happiness to Australian Children. To make a donation to support the work of the Touched by Olivia Foundation, please go to: www.touchedbyolivia.com.au
Source: Touched by Olivia Foundation