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Wollongong plans for its first inclusive playspace
Wollongong City Council is planning to expand Stuart Park’s existing playground to incorporate new features designed for young people and adults with disability.
Wollongong City Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery notes “every now and then a project comes along that really brings joy and this is one such example.
“This initiative illustrates how Council is really focussed on improving the lives and wellbeing of everyone who calls Wollongong home. The concept plan is meant to be the basis for discussion, to share opinions and ideas to make this the best of playgrounds for all ages and abilities in our city.
“I look forward to hearing feedback from our community on the plans to improve this already popular play space to ensure it caters for even more people in our community.
Council also talked with young people with disability to find out what they would like included in this space.
Lord Mayor Bradbery added “It’s our intention for this playground to offer stimulating equipment and physical challenges that will provide a space for young adults with disability including those who are non-verbal or have limited verbal language.
“While there are thousands of playgrounds across Australia, we believe this is a first in that it’s a playground that was built with the needs of young adults with disability squarely in mind.
“We also want it to provide a range of natural and sensory spaces and ultimately form a positive play space that supports people of all ages and abilities.’’
The concept for an inclusive play space in Wollongong has been in the planning for some time and is intended to be delivered in two stages. The first stage is currently funded by the Australian Government’s Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Fund, corporate and community donations and Wollongong City Council.
In 2019 Council partnered with the University of Wollongong and the Disability Trust on a research project titled “Giving Voice to the Voiceless”, which sought to collect the opinions of people with severe intellectual disability and who are functionally non-verbal about how they would like to use playgrounds.
This research project was one of four that received funding through the University’s Community Engagement Grant Scheme, which seeks to address key challenges in the community. The research results have directly informed the development of a purpose-built, all ages and all abilities playground that is suitable for young people and adults with disability.
Under the plans there will be phased improvements to access, linking paths and parking, and the existing playground would remain open during the construction phase which is planned for mid-2021.
“As a Council we’ve made no secret of our plans to improve accessibility across the city and this is the next step in that process,’’ said Lord Mayor Bradbery.
Those interested in this project are encouraged to look over the plans and provide their feedback through Council’s engagement platform on their website. The feedback closes on Monday 15th March.’’
This project is funded by the Australian Government’s Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Fund, corporate and community donations and Wollongong City Council.
Image: illustrates some of the new features Wollongong City Council plans to include in the expansion of Stuart Park’s existing playground.
20th July 2020 - New inclusive, accessible playground opens at Manly Dam
23rd October 2019 - NSW Government delivers $4 million package for inclusive play
10th October 2019 - Shoalhaven Council opens new inclusive playground
15th July 2019 - Griffith City Council set to open new inclusive playground
28th February 2019 - NSW Government releases inclusive play guidelines and announces grant recipients
12th February 2019 - Innovative inclusive children’s playground opens in Hong Kong
7th February 2019 - Inclusive Play Working Group to design guidelines for inclusive play spaces
18th August 2018 - NSW Government advances design guidelines for more inclusive play spaces
8th November 2017 - NSW announces new standard for inclusive children’s playgrounds
27th November 2016 - Sydney Eastern Suburbs park enhanced with skate park and inclusive playground
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