What is a Variety Livvi’s Place?

A Variety Livvi’s Place is an inclusive playspace for all kids to play together.

Variety Livvi’s Place playspaces lead the way in promoting inclusive play and ensure all kids can play, learn and live together.

Community led in design, we talk to our kids, families and all in the local community to create intergenerational, bespoke playspaces that are owned and loved by all. They become thriving family and community destinations where all are welcome, included and feel they belong.

Our Inclusive Play team works to a unique model based on partnership, bringing together communities, government and corporate Australia to deliver community spaces that change the way our society plays.

Through extensive research, advocacy, and guidelines based on the Universal Design Principles, we assist communities to create playspaces where we can all participate and break down the barriers to social inclusion through play.

Variety successfully partner with local governments and developers to deliver Variety Livvi’s Place playspaces nationally. They form part of the wider sought-after and relied upon Australia-wide network of Livvi’s Place inclusive playspaces. In 2018 Variety joined with the Touched by Olivia Foundation to continue their work with local communities across Australia. Both organisations contributed to the NSW Government’s Everyone Can Play guidelines, created to ensure all playspaces are inclusive for all people, regardless of age and ability.

Join our Inclusive Play Design Workshop

Come and work with fellow “Inclusionistas” as we review inclusive playspaces and learn more about inclusive play and playspace design. Hear from leading playmakers and receive feedback and input on your own inclusive play projects as well as how to promote your projects with stakeholders both internally and in the community. Perfect for all those in the play eco-system including councils, designers and suppliers. An interactive workshop and day of reflection, learning and fun. Bring along your own design of an existing or upcoming playspace for review and workshopping Come and play!

When: Thursday 15th July 2021
Time: 9:30am – 4 pm
Location: Sydney

Register now

Why do we need inclusive playspaces?

The importance of play

Play is the right of every child. Play is children’s work. It’s the way they learn, make sense of themselves, their relationships with others and their world. Play is fundamental in the development of children and is a basic human right for all children to be able to play. Many children in Australia don’t have this opportunity because their local playspace is built without considering what is required for them to be able to play.

Building community

An inclusive playspace is where children engage with the natural world around them in the context of community. An inclusive playspace provides space, time and opportunity to meet others and make friends. By playing together we are building community, making connections to community and healthy living choices and creating a more inclusive society through play.

Access ≠ Inclusion

A truly inclusive playspace goes well beyond access.

An inclusive playspace is where we all want to go, where everyone can participate, we all are welcome and feel we belong.
Bespoke, universal, inclusive design = INCLUSION
We challenge and change the way we use, design and build public spaces.

Variety Livvi’s Places

We have a number of Variety Livvi’s Places currently in different stages of development.

Bankstown

Location: Bankstown NSW
Status: Open

Find out more

Glenfield

Location: Glenfield NSW
Status: Open

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Taree

Location: Taree NSW
Status: Closed due to flooding

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Marriott Park

Location: Nowra NSW
Status: In progress

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Nurragingy Reserve

Location: Blacktown NSW
Status: In progress

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Rippleside

Location: Geelong VIC
Status: In progress

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Lt Cantello Reserve

Location: Hammondville NSW
Status: In progress

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Goorimahbah – Place of Stories

Location: Tweed Heads NSW
Status: In progress

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Foreshore Park

Location: Newcastle NSW
Status: In progress

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Albert Park

Location: Cootamundra NSW
Status: In progress

Find out more

Partner with Variety

Why partner with Variety?

  • With more than 10 years’ experience in inclusive play, we provide high-level expertise and connections with industry specialists in inclusion, community engagement, design and play
  • Our highly capable team are skilled at driving, supporting and collaborating on inclusive play projects, and ensuring best practice in design and delivery
  • We inform, educate and influence stakeholders of the importance in applying inclusive principles and universal design to every aspect of their project
  • We undertake exceptional, in-depth and targeted community consultation and build communities of like-minded members
  • We activate inclusive playspaces with Variety Storytime and Variety Playworker programs

What does an inclusive playspace partnership with Variety look like?

The partnership will include a council or developer, community drivers and project sponsors.

We collaborate and consult throughout the project from finding a suitable site, consulting with community, creating a design in conjunction with a landscape architect, supporting the securing of funding and finally the construction of the playspace.

We ensure inclusive playspaces are based on the following principles:
• Everyone can play
• Access to nature
• Total experience
• A connection to community
• Play independence
• Friendship.

Variety provides our technical expertise and passion to drive projects forward, with kids front of mind, demonstrating our unwavering commitment to inclusion.

Check out some of the amazing playspaces we have built, and continue to build, with our partner Stockland.

Stockland Playspaces

The inclusive play process

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Engagement

Let’s all agree to get inclusive, and choose a site to build Variety Livvi’s Place.

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Consultation

Listening to everyone (especially kids!) in the community is the next step to help create a design.

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Design

Putting pen to paper to create a design that refects the needs of the community.

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Funding

If there is a project funding shortfall, now is the time to raise funds and awareness.

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Delivery

Get the shovels ready – it’s time to make Variety Livvi’s Place happen.

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Celebration

Let’s party at the opening of this very special community hub.

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Post occupancy evaluation

Let’s review the usage, condition and programming of Variety Livvi’s Place.

Meet our partners

Meet the Variety Inclusive Play team

At Variety we want to see all kids, families and communities play together. We now have an Inclusive Play team, made up of Lisa Whinnen and Kim Becherand.

Meet the team

Lisa

I love watching how children navigate their world through play. When I was a child, I remember climbing rooves, riding my bike with friends and spinning in the spinner at the playground until I was so dizzy I couldn’t walk straight. I was navigating and learning about my world and it wasn’t until I was a Mum myself that I realised just how important those experiences and skills are.

I’m the proud Mum of two amazing children, one of whom is on the Autism spectrum. I’ve lived and breathed the challenges that come with the simple act of taking my children to a playground. Often, I had to leave early and abruptly because the spaces didn’t support difference or what we needed to play and stay. This all changed the first time we visited Livvi’s Place at Five Dock. My kids experienced the joy of truly inclusive play and were welcomed for who they are and the diversity they brought to play.

It is now my joy and privilege to collaborate with and support councils, corporate developers and communities around the country in the understanding, design and creation of their own Variety Livvi’s Place inclusive playspaces, so all children can navigate and learn about their world, whilst having fun and making new friends.

Lisa lives in Sydney with her husband, son, daughter and three cats. She has over 25 years’ experience as a Senior Executive Assistant, Events Manager and Project Manager in the finance and property industries. She is also a certified Playground Safety Inspector. Lisa manages all the day-to-day aspects and phases relating to our Variety Livvi’s Place projects.
Reach out to Lisa or say hello on LinkedIn.

Kim

Play is children’s work. It is the way they learn and grow. I love children and how every child is unique. I love working with children and way they see the world. I believe our children are our greatest teachers and I am absolutely certain that kids know how to have fun and are the real play experts. This is the heart of my work.

I had a great childhood, full of play, freedom and fun – and a few falls and bruises along the way. Remember those endless days of play? It was our escape, our teacher, how we learned about ourselves and others, faced challenges and developed resilience. This type of free and risky play is something our society has moved away from, for lots of reasons…..But our kids keep telling me, they still really want to play, and my job is to BRING THE PLAY BACK FOR US ALL!

As an educator for most of my life working with kids, teens, young adults and families I advocate for the rights of the child, which so often get lost in our adult world. I champion the voice of the child. I prize the importance of play for all kids. I understand that a child is part of a family unit and I truly believe it takes a village to raise a child.  I am certain we are better together and I am inspired and challenged every day as I work with amazing people and partners who also prioritise kids, community and play for all as we aspire for our work to become redundant. When we have a bespoke truly inclusive playspace in every local community where all want to go, go back to over and over, learn and grow, make friends, create memories and thrive.

Kim lives in Sydney with her husband and two daughters. She has a Bachelor of Education in Early Childhood and a Bachelor of Economics. She has over 25 years of experience in education in early childhood, school and tertiary level settings. More recently Kim has worked in supporting kids and families and in advocacy for inclusive education. Kim is also on the NSW Committee of Play Australia. Reach out to Kim or say hello on LinkedIn.

Let’s have a play date!

Are you interested in having a Variety Livvi’s Place in your community?

Variety wants to see kids of all ages and abilities play side by side but there is a lot of work to be done. We’d love to chat with you about how we might make this happen in your community. Please get in touch with the Inclusive Play team by email at [email protected] or call (02) 9819 1000.

Find a Variety Livvi’s Place near you