A fundraiser has begun for the construction of an inclusive playground for adults with special needs at North Wollongong, as government grants have so far only covered part of the project.
The play space for young people and adults with disabilities at Stuart Park is the first of its kind but bespoke equipment is expensive, with Wollongong City Council currently investigating how stage two of the project can be completed.
"Playground construction costs can vary significantly, especially for custom designed playgrounds such as this one," a Council spokeswoman said.
"The first stage of the Stuart Park inclusive playground is currently funded by the Australian Government's Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Fund to the sum of $500,000. We are currently investigating funding options for the development of stage two."
The spokeswoman said a number of design ideas are being considered that cater for people of all ages and all abilities, and include: wider footpaths for ease of wheelchairs, oversized equipment to cater for adults, sensory and nature play areas, extensive landscaping, and communication signage for people who are who are functionally non-verbal.
"The individual pieces of equipment are around the $20,000 to $40,000 mark ... but it's things like that rubbery soft fall, and accessible pathways and the landscaping which are the big ticket items," Dr Dreyfus said. "You're up into the hundreds of thousands of dollars before you can even blink."
Meantime, Dr Dreyfus has purchased a substantial piece of sensory art from Bondi's Scultpure by the Sea, with the hope "SEQUIN_tial Reflections" by Denise Pepper will be included in the final design.
"People with disabilities rarely get to engage with art because ... art galleries are quiet places and they can be quite noisy," she said. "I wanted to donate something and put my money where my mouth is."
Works for stage one of the inclusive playground are expected to begin in June this year.
The playground will offer stimulating equipment and physical challenges in an inclusive a space for young adults with disability including those who are non-verbal or have limited verbal language.
** To donate to assist in the completion of the project, visit: www.justgiving.com