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Inclusive playgrounds a blueprint for the future

Thornton is home to Australia’s first ‘inter-generational’ playground designed to help older people and young children with mobility and coordination, as well as a new inclusive playground offering a diverse range of play experiences.

Set within a beautiful central open space around a village green, the playgrounds showcase best practice in inclusive playground design to meet the needs of the entire community.

Stuart McCowan, General Manager Development UrbanGrowth NSW said Thornton was an ideal location to deliver the first inclusive playground due to its central location and accessibility for all people in Penrith.

“UrbanGrowth NSW has a track record of delivering best practice urban design in new communities across NSW. We believe in showing leadership and innovation by example. The inclusive playgrounds at Thornton demonstrate best practice and build our understanding of successful play environments.

The playgrounds incorporate a fitness circuit around the village green which UrbanGrowth sees making an important contribution to creating a healthy community,” said Mr. McCowan.

Two inclusive playgrounds on Lord Sheffield Circuit were built in a partnership between UrbanGrowth NSW and Penrith City Council.

The larger inclusive playground, closest to the train line, is ideal for younger children developing physical, social and cognitive and imaginative skills.

The ’inter-generational’ playground, adjacent to the community building, incorporates a new suite of equipment developed in Finland that facilitate exercise and social interaction for older and younger people by targeting motor skills, balance and coordination.

Key design features of the playgrounds were informed by extensive consultation with Penrith City Council, in particular the Access Committee, and a range of disability services in the Penrith Region.

Mayor of Penrith Clr. Mark Davies said Penrith is proud to have the first inclusive playground in Australia. 

"These playgrounds set a benchmark in design and are a huge step toward creating an inclusive city at Penrith.

Council is strongly committed to meeting the needs of our residents. We recognise the importance of universal design, and inclusive and ‘intergenerational’ equipment.

They are designed for the whole community – young and old to come together and share play experiences”, said Clr, Davies.

The playground designer, Fiona Robbé, an expert in inclusive design said the Thornton playgrounds had something for people of different ages, abilities, backgrounds and gender.

The playgrounds are also ideal for people who may require rehabilitation support”, said Ms. Robbé.

The Thornton inclusive playgrounds are located on Lord Sheffield Circuit, accessed from Sydney Smith Drive off Coreen Avenue.

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