A PARTNERSHIP MODEL FOR INCLUSIVE PLAY
STEPHANIE KELLY & HELEN LAVERTY | CITY OF CANADA BAY
LIVVI'S PLACE, CITY OF CANADA BAY, NSW
‘Livvi’s Place’ is a national network of world-class inclusive playspaces, designed for children of all ages and abilities to play side-by-side in social inclusion.
Founded by The Touched by Olivia Foundation’, who in partnership with City of Canada Bay Council and local business owners, launched the first inclusive playspace at Timbrell Park, Five Dock 2008, which has successfully been adopted as a model and replicated across 19 sites around Australia.
The Foundation was formed as a national charity in 2006 by the Perkins family, following the loss of their baby daughter Olivia, and is driven by a mission to ensure that every playspace in Australia caters for the needs of all people, regardless of age or ability through the adoption of Universal Design Principles.
In 2013, the Foundation again approached Canada Bay Council with a request to pilot a social enterprise café on the Timbrell Park playspace site. The café would enhance the experience of the place, generate financial support needed for the maintenance of the playground, and provide employment for people with disability. The pilot project was launched as a pop-up café in 2014 and after 12 months the Council gave consent for the project to operate on a permanent basis. The success of the café pilot project has now been extended to other playgrounds around the country.
The social enterprise café improves activation of this key park significantly and developed the reputation of Timbrell Park as a destination for the whole community. A range of programs and opportunities have been developed by the Café team, including:
A small Community Garden that provides activities for children plus provides the café kitchen with fresh herbs;
Weekly Storytime in the park program. In partnership, Council promotes the activities, the café provides free children’s refreshments and the Foundation provides a storyteller and craft;
Mindfulness for children and meditation session after school;
Sports club showcase and open day to connect children of all abilities to local teams and clubs;
Child Safety Awards (the national Kids Safe Awards) event in the park, and;
Workplace training and life skills for people with a disability to begin a career in hospitality.
"The Foundations successful growth hinges on a mixed economic model of partnership between governments, communities, and businesses."
The Foundations successful growth hinges on a mixed economic model of partnership between governments, communities, and businesses. To date Touched by Olivia has successfully attracted sponsorship, local government support, and grants resulting in the opening of 19 inclusive play spaces and 6 social enterprise cafés, with 25 more in development across Australia.
In the case of Timbrel Park, The Foundation leads the café operations, staff training, established suppliers, and business management, Stockland Property group installed and provided the prefabricated café and the Canada Bay Council provided both the prepared site for the café and complimentary leasing of the space for the 18-month trial period. Overall the Council’s investment in the project was limited to the cost of the site preparation totalling, $10,000.
The success of this project is ultimately highlighted by the ongoing partnership between the Foundation and Council. Through collaboration, the team has been able to meet the challenges and opportunities of the aspiring community.