In early 2015, Queensland’s Central Highlands Regional Council resolved to construct an all-abilities playground in their Sister City, Ichinoseki.
With an accessible fort, an excavator, soft fall, a flying fox and Japan’s very first Devine Liberty Swing, this playground was like nothing the Japanese people had ever seen before.
The park – dubbed the Australia Japan Friendship Park: A Place with No Barriers – was opened on 10 October 2015.
Over 170 people attended the opening, including Foster Stavridis from the Variety Asian Pacific Regional Committee, the Chief Barker of Variety Japan Masaaki Chiba and the CEO of Variety Japan Koichi Azuma.
A number of children with special needs were also at the opening – the first to try out the new swing.
“The smiles on their faces said it all,” Central Highlands Mayor Cr Peter Maguire said.
“That’s what this project has been all about, breaking down barriers and being inclusive.”
The Central Highlands Regional Council acknowledged Variety by including their logo on the Liberty Swing. This generosity is welcomed and it is hoped more swings of this nature will be made available within Japan. This Japanese playground project was supported by the Commonwealth through the Australia-Japan Foundation, which is part of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
“The all-inclusive playground provides the opportunity for families to take their children to a safe environment and allow children to be children.” Foster Stavridis said. It is important to acknowledge and recognise the significance and the value of forming strategic alliances and partnerships in the pursuit of our vision to empowering children who are sick, disadvantaged or who have special needs to LIVE, LAUGH & LEARN
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