Port Stephens Mum’s Wish For Accessible Playground Comes True

MLC Catherine Cusack, Councillor Jaimie Abbott, Isac, Michelle Bokodi, Sophia, Mayor Ryan Palmer and Councillor John Nell. Photo by Marian Sampson.
MLC Catherine Cusack, Councillor Jaimie Abbott, Isac, Michelle Bokodi, Sophia, Mayor Ryan Palmer and Councillor John Nell. Photo by Marian Sampson.

 

EVERY parent knows that keeping track of children at playgrounds is a big call, and for parents of children with special needs it can be even harder.

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Michelle Bokodi is parent to Isac aged 5 who has special needs and Sophia who is 18 months old.

She is currently homeschooling Isac who is autistic and has a high risk of falls.

Isac was enjoying his Ipad and seated in his wheelchair at the announcement of the funding.

Michelle approached Councillor Abbott about the idea of an accessible playground during the council elections.

For the family to enjoy a trip to the playground at the moment they need to engage an additional carer.

Michelle Bokodi told News Of The Area, “Having a special needs child limits your ability to offer a fair amount of time to both siblings.”

The fenced playground will mean that she will be able to spend time with both children without having to employ a carer to help out.

“This will mean that Sophia will have opportunities to play at the park just like every other child,” she said.

MLC Catherine Cusack told News Of The Area, “It’s a joy to be here and I am pleased that Jaimie Abbott’s motion requesting state government funding for fencing for the new playground at Shoal Bay will go ahead.”

The funds are coming from the Premiers funds for special projects.

As a parent Ms Cusack understands the impact of a safe fenced play space as she recalled the day one of her children ran onto the road.

“This will make a safe play space for families, this is one of the biggest ideas with the biggest heart that will make a difference for families with special needs children.”

While the funding for the fencing is a relatively small grant of just $12,000 it is sure to make a big difference to parents like Michelle.

Councillor Jaimie Abbott told News Of The Area, “I would like to thank the Premier for releasing the funds to make the fencing of the new playground at Shoal Bay a reality.”

The state government funded fence will surround a $120,000 playground funded by Council.

The playground which is situated adjacent to the carpark at the traffic lights at Shoal Bay is due to be completed by August subject to weather.

 

By Marian SAMPSON

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