A local woman has advocated for her child and many like him in calling for Weddin Shire Council to build an inclusive playground in Grenfell.
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Addressing the public forum at Weddin Shire Council's meeting last week local mother and nurse, Emily Essex addressed Council in regards to its recommendation to endorse the proposal of an inclusive playspace at Taylor Park as part of Round Five of the Stronger Communities Fund.
"As the mother of a very young child who lives with a disability I'm acutely aware of the lack of inclusive play spaces in Grenfell and the Weddin Shire," Emily said. "I struggle to take my three small children to any of our parks in our town and feel that they are all equally safe, included and engaged in play."
Emily went on to give examples including the lack of fencing around local parks and play areas.
"Play is a basic part of every childhood and is essential for child development," she said. "Unfortunately not all children and their families can access all play spaces. Some families like ours face a range of barriers that prevent us from having the same experiences as other families in these important community hubs."
There are a number of benefits to the community as a whole if an inclusive playspace were to be built Emily explained.
"The construction of inclusive playgrounds is the solution to breaking down the barriers to social inclusions through play," she said. "A place that encourages children of all abilities to interact and engage with each other can only lead to a strong inclusive community that is a great place for everyone to live in."
Emily had done a vast amount of research into inclusive play areas and following in the footsteps of Young and Cootamundra came across the organisation Touched by Olivia.
"Touched by Olivia is a charity and has developed a model that utilises a partnership with local councils and developers to put inclusive playspaces into as many communities as possible nationally," she said. "I found it very interesting when speaking to this organisation that there are a multitude of factors that must be considered when developing a design that encompasses true inclusion and delivers the vision of key community stakeholders.
"They firmly believe that the design should be bespoke to the specific requirements of individual communities and extensive consultation is conducted within the community before the design phase."
Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke had a meeting with Emily last week with the local member supporting the concept.
"She did request that I convey to Council that I have her full support for this project to go ahead and also indicated that Stronger Country Community Funding could certainly be utilised by the Weddin Shire if it was decided to move ahead with this project," Emily said.
Council moved the recommendation that it would endorse the project to be submitted for consideration for round five funding for the amount of $350,000.
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