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Livvi’s Place at the Marriott Waters Recreation Reserve

By Eleanor Hopkins

DEVELOPMENT of the first all-inclusive playspace for the south east of Victoria is in the swing of things in Casey, with the vision for the facility unveiled on Friday. Members of the community gathered at the future site of Livvi’s Place at the Marriott Waters Recreation Reserve on Friday to celebrate the unveiling of the dream vision for the playspace. Three cheques from MediBank Community Fund, Pakenham business ProPlumb and SITA were also presented towards the project at the celebration.

The Touched by Olivia Foundation charity is working with the City of Casey to develop the playspace – to be the only one of its kind in this region. Inclusive playspaces provide play opportunities for children of all abilities to play side by side. While there will be the usual swings and slides, every aspect of the design will consider the special needs of children with disabilities. Local resident and project champion Therese Howell has been the catalyst behind making Livvi’s Place happen.
Ms Howell, whose son Jack has a disability, urged other business to get on board so they can ensure the play space reaches its full potential. “A Livvi’s Place in Casey will be a place for families with children of all ages, stages and abilities to meet, socialise, connect with their community and make new friendships in a safe and play filled environment,” she said.“I’m very proud that the City of Casey have agreed that Casey needs a Livvi’s Place and I’m very much looking forward to watching our playspace develop. “At the moment we have $274,000 confirmed towards the project. “We would like to raise at least $700,000 which would give us a reasonably good playspace with excellent access and equipment for people of all abilities. “If we can reach close to $1 million, then we could create a truly amazing space with a larger fenced area and other things that are just out of the budget at the moment. “But I can confirm that this will definitely go ahead now. “It’s not an idea anymore, it’s going to happen.” Ms Howell said the play space would incorporate things such as a kite flying hill, be secure and fenced in and have a wheelchair accessible carousel.

City of Casey councillor Amanda Stapledon said the playspace was a project she was committed to and passionate about. “It will enable children of all abilities to play and to spend time together with their family and friends,” she said. “It takes a community to raise a child and the support we provide now will ensure that every child has the same opportunity to be the best that they can be and to share in the same experiences.”

Pro Plumb managing director Adam Lowndes said he decided to support the playspace with $5000 for a number of reasons. “I read about this in the paper and it caught my eye because my daughter’s name is Olivia and she has special needs,” he said. “It’s something that hits home with me and my family. “But I also run a successful company and we are always looking for opportunities to give back. “I think that this is a fantastic way to contribute to bring people of all abilities in the area enjoyment and it will give those who support it great satisfaction.”

Businesses wishing to donate towards the project can do so by calling Rebecca Ho on 0414 506 606 or emailing rebecca.ho@touchedbyolivia.com.au. Construction is expected to start by December this year, with the playspace open for play in early 2015.

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