On Monday 30 November we had the pleasure of taking some official playtesters along to the opening of our new Variety Livvi’s Place at Stockland Shopping Centre Merrylands.
Built in collaboration with our playmates at Stockland and The Play Works the new playspace’s inclusive design ensures all children can play together.
Michelle Thomas, Centre Manager at Stockland Merrylands, said that it was critical to remove the barriers experienced by Australians to have the same access and opportunities that others enjoy.
“We hope this new playspace will become a favourite destination for our littlest customers and the community more widely, where all children feel comfortable letting their imaginations run wild and just enjoy playing.
“We see ourselves as a town centre designed for the community, and will continue to evaluate ways in which we can create more curated experiences and add value and convenience to customers’ visits.”
Aptly named ‘Merrylands Global Village’, the playground design celebrates the local community’s multi-culturalism and diversity through a vibrant and engaging space where children are encouraged to interact, role play and play.
Kim Becherand, Variety’s Inclusive Play Manager said working with Stockland Merrylands to deliver the project provided the opportunity to create a truly inclusive playspace that will engage all children and their families and carers in play.
“At Variety we believe that all children deserve the opportunity to play. This new playspace pushes the boundaries of what an inclusive playspace in a shopping centre can be. Working with the project team we have created a space where everyone is included, valued and feels they belong.
“The Stockland Merrylands playspace continues Variety’s ongoing partnership with Stockland. We love working together and striving for excellence in design as we create inclusive playspaces for Stockland communities throughout Australia.”
“We believe every local community must have at least one inclusive playspace and we’re very excited to be partnering with Stockland who are so forward-thinking in changing the way public playspaces are built.”
Some features of inclusion in the playspace is a wide directional pathway through the space for easy access, imaginative, sensory and accessible play options for all children, a wide slide for easy access and fun fencing around the playspace to ensure the safety.
Kaili Metani, mother to 4-year-old Alia, said: “This Variety Livvi’s Place is so inclusive and accessible. There is plenty of space, everything is safe, no sharp edges and soft fall everywhere, so Alia can wander and crawl around freely and independently. I can see her well without hovering, and can easily get to her if she needs help. Best of all, she can play with other kids.
“These are playspaces where I can bring Alia and her two brothers and they can all play together – usually she has to sit out with me. I can have a coffee and talk to other parents too. We are just like every other family, it’s just fantastic.”
The new inclusive playground is located near Big W within the Stockland Shopping Centre.
Stockland play areas operate with a specifically designed COVID-Safe plan which includes regular cleaning and monitoring, as well as the availability of hand sanitiser.
Support our Inclusive Play work
At Variety we are aiming to open several new Inclusive Playspaces in the upcoming months located in communities across the country, in particular in regional centres. To support the development of more inclusive playspaces you can make a donation here, any contribution no matter how big or small is deeply appreciated.
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