A new nature playground has been opened at Louise Place, complete with chicks, chimes and a giant chalkboard.
The $70,000 space which is built around four key features – a waterhole, cave, grassed mound and hen house – was officially opened by Director Dale West and will provide a much-needed sanctuary for young mothers and children.
“The way this property has been transformed over the past 20 years is extraordinary and this playground is really the last piece of that puzzle, and arguably the most important,’’ Dale said.
The playground was made possible by benefactor Anna Hompoth – who gave her life earnings to children’s services – and the support of the Freemasons, the Lions Club of Edwardstown, the White Ribbon Breakfast Committee and other community groups.
“With lots of stepping out, scratching our heads, talking about our hopes and dreams for the clients and their children, developing a risk assessment and procedure for our chickens, and then working with a range of experts, we are now launching today a new, happy place,’’ said Vicki Lachlan, Manager of Louise Place, at the opening.
“Designed for both young women and their children to connect with each other and allow them healing, happy times is our aim and I think we have achieved that with this area.’’
Louise Place provides support and accommodation for young pregnant or parenting women who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, often against a backdrop of domestic violence, childhood trauma and other complex challenges.
In 2017/18, the service supported 126 clients, including 65 women and 40 children.
“Jobs like this one are a little bit more heartfelt and that’s why we enjoy being able to do them, knowing there will be enjoyment at the end of it,’’ said landscaper Matt Williams, of Escape Creations, which developed the space.
“Usually we rope off our projects and leave before they’re opened and don’t get to see them being used, so it’s great to be part of this today.’’
Executive Manager of Centacare’s Domestic Violence & Homelessness Services, Kara Piltz: “Our clients have don’t have a lot of peace in their life, so this is a place they can come to just be with their children and play, and share that time together.’’