A PORT Macquarie playground is achieving its social inclusion goal, a study has found.
Livvi's Place at Westport Park was planned and designed as an inclusive all-abilities play space by the group Touched by Olivia and Port Macquarie-Hastings Council.
Touched by Olivia funded the study through a $2500 grant from Charles Sturt University’s Rural and Regional Community Initiated Research Grants Program.
The not-for-profit group wanted to assess if Livvi's Place was meeting its goals of social inclusion, including accessibility and inter-generational play.
Sociologist Dr Janice Ollerton, an independent researcher, and Associate Professor Rosemary Black from the School of Environmental Sciences at CSU in Port Macquarie undertook the research. The study, involving 193 online and face-to-face surveys of park users during April and May 2016, found Livvi's Place promotes a sense of social inclusion.
During the research, users of the playground expressed feelings of safety, welcome and belonging.
Dr Ollerton said they found the main user group was families with children under 13 years and predominantly pre-school aged children.
“Livvi's Place is especially popular with families of children with disabilities,” she said. Professor Black said they also found that Livvi's Place encouraged its users to be themselves, live in the moment, and enjoy their experiences there. The friendships formed, conversations started, and playful interactions experienced at Livvi's Place demonstrate how it helps people connect.”