Blue Mountains News

Blue Mountains Families Call for Inclusive Playground

Source: Office of Susan Templeman MP Federal Member for Macquarie
Posted: 24 Feb 2019
Susan Templeman and Jane Renneberg-Bles with her four children Eliza, Archer, Rocky and Oliver Bles and friend, Cove Delaney
A campaign for a new inclusive playground has been launched in the Blue Mountains.

Member for Macquarie, Susan Templeman, has joined local mother of four, Jane Renneberg-Bles, to launch an online petition to start the fight for the first fully inclusive playground in the Blue Mountains.

“All children deserve to play – no matter what their abilities are. By not having inclusive public spaces, we have exclusive ones – and that is not what we are about here in the Blue Mountains.

“Jane is an incredible advocate for her four children who each have additional needs,” Ms Templeman said.

“I’m excited to be joining forces with her in building community support for a playground that caters for children of all abilities, their families and friends and is built with needs of the Blue Mountains community at the forefront,” Ms Templeman said.

“We know Council and community groups are working to upgrade existing facilities, but this is about creating from scratch a purpose-built inclusive playground.”

Ms Renneberg-Bles said “When you have children with additional needs, you’re very restricted with where you can go for outings.

“All of my kids have additional needs of varying degrees.  Rocky, one of my 8 year old twins was non-verbal for the first 4 years of his life and has required a lot of intensive intervention to get him to where he is today.

“When we go to a normal playground with Rocky, he really struggles and our visits are often cut short, but he needs to be able to get out and play in an environment that is suitable for his physical, cognitive and social needs.                                               

“Many children need sensory integration to be more regulated within themselves and this in turn makes them calmer and more engaged.

“There are some fantastic inclusive playgrounds out there – when we go to one them, we can be there for hours because Rocky is stimulated and safe, and my other kids are catered for as well. My whole family and our friends can enjoy the experience.

“I work at the Gabrielle Centre of Children in Blaxland and know how much local families are screaming out for somewhere local and accessible that fosters their children’s social and physical development.

“We need somewhere that families can fit in and be part of the community - a place we can all go. I’ll be urging everyone I know to sign this petition – even if they don’t have children with additional needs. Inclusive playgrounds benefit everyone.”

Ms Templeman said “Blue Mountains families of children with disabilities deserve the same access to things that the most people take for granted – access to play.

“I’m encouraging the Blue Mountains community to get behind this and sign my online petition. Jane and families like hers deserve an inclusive playground that doesn’t require an hour’s drive to get there.”

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