Did you know that play is essential for all developing minds?
It’s how we explore, interact and engage with the incredible world around us. So important to child development that it’s been recognized by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights as a right of every child. Yet the vast majority of our playgrounds are not inclusive to all. We are turning this around. And we are starting on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.
Design for all.
Play for All Australia is a social innovation collective with advocacy, inclusive play and community belonging at the heart of all we do.
We are passionately driving policy change around the design of all our local play spaces so that every child will have the opportunity to equally participate and enjoy the cognitive, social and emotional benefits that only play can bring.
Through collaboration with local councils, creative industries, parents and educators, we are introducing a new normal to playground design. Design innovation that is inclusive, sensory rich and sustainable, and promotes connection and caring by dissolving as many boundaries as possible.
Together we are creating a future of play and belonging in our community for children of every ability.
We are building a world of play for all.
To make inclusive design the starting point for all neighbourhood play spaces, evolving them into sensory-rich experiences for children of every ability. To do so efficiently, sustainably and innovatively.
To inspire the profoundly simple act of play for all our children
To use empathy, and deliberately merge multiple creative disciplines and perspectives together in problem solving
To foster greater community belonging, and reduced social isolation
To focus on the creation of living versus lasting play spaces that empower and enact local community ownership
“Smaller budgets just need bigger ideas”
CAROLINE GHATT| Co-Founder
It all began late one night...
Play For All started in March 2016 as a community FaceBook group in response to some local council designs for a new flagship playground on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. While it ticked the accessibility box, it fell very short of being inclusive to kids of all abilities. How could we support a neighbourhood playground that we couldn’t all use and enjoy?
Through Facebook we connected with the community to start a conversation. It was the beginning of our journey. We discovered the (then) Warringah Council Open Space policy for parks and playgrounds did not offer any guidelines for inclusivity. It wasn't just design revisions for one playground we needed to work on. We had to drive change around the policy that governed all 220 playgrounds on the Northern beaches. Our vision is for the Northern Beaches to be the most inclusive play centre in the world; a place of belonging for all our children and families.
We navigated the murky waters of the local council amalgamation process and vigorously campaigned for an amendment to the 2015 Northern Beaches Open Space Strategy. Success came in June 2016 with Council Administrator Dick Persson, a key supporter of our cause, delivering a Mayoral Minute (originally penned by Warringah Council Mayor Michael Reagan – also a key supporter) that recognised the fundamental importance of inclusivity in our community with a policy change. We had the green light that we needed to start designing and building a future of play for all our kids.
Connecting through play
In December 2016, the newly formed Northern Beaches Council in investment partnership with the NSW Government announced a major infrastructure investment - Connecting Northern Beaches, a combination of two major programs. The first is a $22.3 million project that will connect Manly to Palm Beach with a spectacular all-inclusive walkway and cycle way. The second part, a $10.3 inclusive and active play program for our playgrounds and Surf Life Saving Clubs. Of that, $6.3 million is dedicated to inclusive play with two new major all-abilities playgrounds to be built at Manly Dam and Lionel Watts Reserve. Further to that, 50 district playgrounds were listed for an upgrade to create a fun, safe and inclusive playground for all.
Let’s keep going
It was a huge step in the right direction. But, we couldn’t stop there. All community playgrounds need to be inclusive. What about the other 170 on the Northern Beaches? The little park on the corner of your street? The playground next to the local picnic area? Taking a small portion of the budget, we asked the council if we could run an innovative pilot program focussing on a local neighbourhood and 5 playgrounds within. It is an inclusive playground program to bring the community together creating exciting and vibrant play spaces for kids of all abilities. Right here in our own neighbourhood.