A $75000 NSW Government grant will see the construction of a ‘Changing Place’ built at the Variety Inclusive Playground at Corrigans Reserve. The change place will be built with the sole entrance via the playground to ensure that parents will be able to access the disability room without leaving the playground, an important consideration for parents and carers managing a number of children.

Sally Minato says –

As the parent of a little boy who doesn’t have the cognitive ability it takes to learn the skills required of toileting, this funding is so welcome, and, this facility will finally make it really possible, for us to utilise this incredible playground.

Changing the nappy of a six-year-old who is physically strong is not easy and is a daily struggle. It’s not something that Frankie understands or enjoys so he fights it. This is hard enough in the privacy of my own home. It is certainly not something I want to do under the watchful gaze of other families using the playground.

At the moment, if we use the playground and Frankie needs a new nappy we either head home, sometimes after five minutes, or I change him on the grass. This is very uncomfortable for everyone, but for Frankie most of all.

Parenting children with special needs is a constant battle against isolation. It is too easy for parents like myself to choose to stay home, where it’s safe, and where the facilities match our needs. I used to be a very social person but these days it’s an effort. I force myself to leave the house, rather than pack my bag for a fun day out with my kids. That’s sad, and I know I’m not the only parent in this situation. We want to enjoy the magic that comes with a day of fresh air and sun with our children. This funding will help make that a reality and I’m just so grateful to Charles Stuart, and to Andrew Constance, for their hard work and for finding the funds.

I have known Andrew for many years, since he was the minister in charge of disabilities for NSW. I know his heart is with projects such as these. He is a passionate supporter and advocate for children like Frankie, their parents and their families. Many politicians don’t have the capacity for empathy that the disability portfolio requires so I feel that it’s important to recognise publicly the empathy and heart behind the politics that brings these funding opportunities to our area.