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Playground initiative wins World Leisure innovation prize

Playground initiative wins World Leisure innovation prize
December 3, 2011

A program that aims to provide an inclusive public playground in every community in Australia has been named as a co-winner of the 2011 World Leisure International Innovation prize.

The program, the Livvi's Place Inclusive Playspace Network, aims to provide a framework for inclusive playgrounds and advocating that play is for everyone in Australia. Organised by the Touched by Olivia Foundation, the Network plans to build playgrounds for children of all abilities to play side by side regardless of age or ability. The uniqueness of these playgrounds is that they cater for neurological impairment as well as physical impairment, non-disabled users and adults in a public environment.

Each playground is able to offer something for everyone by being inter-generational and, to be truly inclusive, the playgrounds appear and function as a traditional playground. Another objective of the playgrounds is to combat childhood obesity by offering such children an inclusive environment that helps them by creating an atmosphere where the children do not feel self-conscious.

Speaking after receiving the World Leisure award, Founding Director John Perkins stated "our plan mapped out 42 sites, including the three outdoor playgrounds that have been opened in Five Dock, Dubbo and Brisbane.

"We’re now in development in Perth, Ryde, Melbourne, Penrith and Jindabyne with many new opportunities being unearthed weekly."

John, along with his wife Justine, formed the Touched by Olivia Foundation in 2006 after the death of their daughter Olivia.

In 2007, the first Livvi's Place playground opened in Campbelltown and the Perkins found that there was a need for truly inclusive play facilities across Australia. The next Livvi's Place playground in Five Dock, NSW was named Best Playspace in Australia by Parks and Leisure Australia.

The World Leisure International Innovation Prize seeks to recognise organisations that have implemented creative solutions that foster local, national, or international leisure opportunities for the benefit and development of individuals and communities.

The prize defines 'leisure' in its broadest sense including play, recreation, the arts and culture, sports, festivals and celebrations, health and fitness, or travel and tourism. It encompasses indoor or outdoor programs, services, and amenities.

The major component that sets the World Leisure International Innovation Prize apart from the myriad of similar awards given is that the Prize focuses on the social, cultural and economic aspects of leisure as an aspect of the lived experience for individuals in a community and for visitors to the community.

The Livvi's Place Inclusive Playspace Network is one of three winners of the 2011 Prize with two other nominations being acknowledged as highly commended.

The other Prize winners are:

A Park for People - Nature Seychelles - winner
The Thousand Isle Lake Reservoir Conservation Project, China - winner
The Sport Development and Social Legacy Project - The Football Foundation of South Africa – highly commended
Tourism for All in Flanders, Belgium – highly commended

Announcing the Prizes, Ian Cooper, Chair of the World Leisure International Innovation Prize Committee, stated "this year's applications came from many countries and demonstrated a range of innovative approaches to managing culture/leisure facilities and services. The Committee was particularly pleased to see the diversity of winning projects ranging from charitable organizations to state managed environmental projects."

The Prizes, known as 'Georges' (in honour of Dr George Torkildsen [1934 – 2005] the first World Leisure Prize Committee Chair and past World Leisure Organisation Board Chair) were presented at the 2nd World Leisure Expo and International Leisure Forum in Hangzhou.

Founded in 1952, World Leisure is a worldwide, non-governmental association of persons and organizations dedicated to discovering and fostering those conditions best permitting leisure to serve as a force for human growth, development and well-being. 

The Livvi's Place playground at Five Dock can be viewed at v=Ego7KspIwK0&feature=related






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