About us

Workshop

We are building a world of play and belonging for all.

Play For All Australia is a for-purpose social enterprise.

We want every child in all communities across Australia, to have the opportunity to equally participate and enjoy the cognitive, social and emotional benefits that only play can bring.

We create and achieve ideas that are innovative, sustainable and cost-effective, and help councils and communities turn the dial on inclusive play.

Caroline & Tim

Decorative

Mission

Our mission is to help build a world of play and belonging for all.
And to do so cost effectively, sustainably and innovatively.

1

To inspire the profoundly simple act of play for all our children.

2

To use empathy, and deliberately merge multiple creative disciplines and perspectives together in problem solving.

3

Extend inclusion to foster greater community belonging, and reduced social isolation.

4

To focus on the creation of living versus lasting play spaces that empower and enact local community ownership.

It all began late one night...

Play For All started in March 2016 as a community FaceBook group in response to some local council designs for a new flagship playground on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. While it ticked the accessibility box, it fell very short of being inclusive to kids of all abilities. How could we support a neighbourhood playground that we couldn’t all use and enjoy?

Through Facebook we connected with the community to start a conversation. It was the beginning of our journey. We discovered the (then) Warringah Council Open Space policy for parks and playgrounds did not offer any guidelines for inclusivity. It wasn't just design revisions for one playground we needed to work on. We had to drive change around the policy that governed all 220 playgrounds on the Northern beaches.

Play For All started in March 2016 as a community FaceBook group in response to some local council designs for a new flagship playground on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. While it ticked the accessibility box, it fell very short of being inclusive to kids of all abilities. How could we support a neighbourhood playground that we couldn’t all use and enjoy?

Through Facebook we connected with the community to start a conversation. It was the beginning of our journey. We discovered the (then) Warringah Council Open Space policy for parks and playgrounds did not offer any guidelines for inclusivity. It wasn't just design revisions for one playground we needed to work on. We had to drive change around the policy that governed all 220 playgrounds on the Northern beaches.

Our vision is for the Northern Beaches to be the most inclusive play centre in the world; a place of belonging for all our children and families.

We navigated the murky waters of the local council amalgamation process and vigorously campaigned for an amendment to the 2015 Northern Beaches Open Space Strategy.

Success came in June 2016 with Council Administrator Dick Persson, a key supporter of our cause, delivering a Mayoral Minute (originally penned by Warringah Council Mayor Michael Reagan – also a key supporter) that recognised the fundamental importance of inclusivity in our community with a policy change. We had the green light that we needed to start designing and building a future of play for all our kids.

Connecting through play

In December 2016, the newly formed Northern Beaches Council in investment partnership with the NSW Government announced a major infrastructure investment - Connecting Northern Beaches, a combination of two major programs. The first is a $22.3 million project that will connect Manly to Palm Beach with a spectacular all-inclusive walkway and cycle way.

In December 2016, the newly formed Northern Beaches Council in investment partnership with the NSW Government announced a major infrastructure investment - Connecting Northern Beaches, a combination of two major programs. The first is a $22.3 million project that will connect Manly to Palm Beach with a spectacular all-inclusive walkway and cycle way.

The second part, a $10.3 inclusive and active play program for our playgrounds and Surf Life Saving Clubs. Of that, $6.3 million is dedicated to inclusive play with two new major all-abilities playgrounds to be built at Manly Dam and Lionel Watts Reserve. Further to that, 50 district playgrounds were listed for an upgrade to create a fun, safe and inclusive playground for all.

Let’s keep going

It was a huge step in the right direction. But, we couldn’t stop there. All community playgrounds need to be inclusive. What about the other 170 on the Northern Beaches? The little park on the corner of your street? The playground next to the local picnic area?

It was a huge step in the right direction. But, we couldn’t stop there. All community playgrounds need to be inclusive. What about the other 170 on the Northern Beaches? The little park on the corner of your street? The playground next to the local picnic area?

Taking a small portion of the budget, we asked the council if we could run an innovative pilot program focussing on a local neighbourhood and 5 playgrounds within. It is an inclusive playground program to bring the community together creating exciting and vibrant play spaces for kids of all abilities. Right here in our own neighbourhood.

To see our projects please click here

Inclusion
elevates all.


Elaine Hall

Model

Design Thinking + Diverse Minds are our frameworks to solve problems
and uncover solutions that help you turn up the dial on inclusion.

Collaborate + Create + Activate

Our co-founders bring lived experience of disability and a professional background in strategy and business consulting. Our network of Diverse Minds include People with a Disability, Educators, Early Interventionists, Graffiti Artists, Engineers, Architects, Parents, Designers, Occupational Therapists – and more.

Team

Vanessa
Vanessa Rowed

Vanessa believes in a future where inclusive play is the norm across all playgrounds. Shaped by her personal experience with both a sibling and a child with special needs, Vanessa is passionate about ensuring all children have access to learn and connect with each other through play.

Vanessa believes in a future where inclusive play is the norm across all playgrounds. Shaped by her personal experience with both a sibling and a child with special needs, Vanessa is passionate about ensuring all children have access to learn and connect with each other through play.

A marketing specialist, with a wealth of experience across a diverse range of industries, Vanessa is passionate about leveraging consumer insights to solve business problems. With both a creative and practical mind, she is working with Play For All Australia to apply this same rigour to all aspects including creative thinking, design, funding and community support.

Vanessa was invited to be part of the very start of Play for All Australia and is a keen advocate of the initiatives and ongoing projects. We are excited to have Vanessa as part of our expert advisory council.

Ruth
Ruth Robins

Ruth comes to PFAA with over 20 years operational expertise working at an executive level in both the not for profit and local government sectors. She has a demonstrated track record of successfully delivering high stakes and politically sensitive government projects and has a proven history of galvanising teams, driving positive cultural development and inspiring innovation that culminates in providing excellent outcomes for the community.

Ruth comes to PFAA with over 20 years operational expertise working at an executive level in both the not for profit and local government sectors. She has a demonstrated track record of successfully delivering high stakes and politically sensitive government projects and has a proven history of galvanising teams, driving positive cultural development and inspiring innovation that culminates in providing excellent outcomes for the community.

As the Northern Beaches Council Project Liaison Champion, Ruth partnered with Play For All Australia in the journey across the inception, development and implementation of the Belrose Play Project. Like the team, Ruth believes that inclusion doesn't cost more - it's about how we frame the issues and look for solutions.

Ruth has the heart for projects that champion, challenge and advocate; and is passionate about projects that impact and shape future directions as Play For All Australia does. We are proud to have Ruth as part of our expert advisory council.

Kerry
Kerry Dominish

Kerry is committed to making sure that every child, from their earliest years, can meaningfully play and be active in their community. To achieve this she challenges thinking about play opportunities to make them meaningful and playful. What makes children involved in play, and stay and play and then play some more. We want them to want to come back to play again. What do communities need to make a play space work?

Kerry is committed to making sure that every child, from their earliest years, can meaningfully play and be active in their community. To achieve this she challenges thinking about play opportunities to make them meaningful and playful. What makes children involved in play, and stay and play and then play some more. We want them to want to come back to play again. What do communities need to make a play space work?

Kerry's approach to thinking about play recognises that families and communities need support to help children play. Each person needs to understand what is going on. Over 30 years as a speech pathologist and early childhood interventionist and now as a CEO in the disability sector, provides a background of evidence about how to support all children to play and how to find the rights supports for families and community.

Kerry likes to be practical and brings a realistic view of community development. Her thinking is focussed on "low cost, no cost" solutions and making sure these solutions are functional and sustainable.

Having partnered with Play For All Australia for more than a year, Kerry played a central key role in the development of the Belrose Inclusive Play Spaces. She continues to bring her invaluable insight, inspiration and expertise to our ongoing projects.

Gemma
Gemma Hoffman

Gemma is passionate about early childhood development and the role of play in the lives of children, families and communities. She has worked with children and families for over 20 years with most of those years specialising in Early Intervention. She now teaches aspiring educators with a particular focus on diversity, disability and inclusion.

Gemma is passionate about early childhood development and the role of play in the lives of children, families and communities. She has worked with children and families for over 20 years with most of those years specialising in Early Intervention. She now teaches aspiring educators with a particular focus on diversity, disability and inclusion.

Over the years Gemma has observed the transformative and empowering effect of play for EVERY child and espouses the right for all children, no matter their unique abilities, to have play experiences that foster autonomy, curiosity, creativity and agency.

She believes that play is as essential as sunshine.

tim
Timothy Smith

Tim believes in partnerships and what we can achieve together. Certified as a Level 2 Operational Playground Inspector, Tim is passionate about bringing a diverse set of minds to a problem and finding the most unexpected and innovative solution.

Tim believes in partnerships and what we can achieve together. Certified as a Level 2 Operational Playground Inspector, Tim is passionate about bringing a diverse set of minds to a problem and finding the most unexpected and innovative solution.

As a proud father of two, including a son who lived with a significant disability, Tim brings this perspective to his work. He knows what it feels like to be a carer, not just a parent.

As an executive with over 20 years in Sales and Marketing, Tim uses this expertise and talent to drive the operational side of the business – from prototyping to project management. He is our undisputed "Head of Play". Nimble on his feet with a hands-on dedication, he moves us forward by navigating any challenges that come our way.

Tim wants to make the world a place where we can all play. His driving force is that inclusion doesn't cost more - it's about how we frame the issues and look for the solutions. Passionate and big-hearted, Tim is one of life’s good guys who brings others with him.

caroline
Caroline Ghatt

Caroline is a passionate and seasoned advocate for social inclusion. It’s shaped by her personal journey as a proud mum of two, including a son who lived with a significant disability. She brings firsthand perspective into life for families whose children are not typically developing.

Caroline is a passionate and seasoned advocate for social inclusion. It’s shaped by her personal journey as a proud mum of two, including a son who lived with a significant disability. She brings firsthand perspective into life for families whose children are not typically developing.

Caroline is inspired by the power of creativity and its capacity to overcome barriers and solve problems. She planted the seed for Play For All as a Facebook community group and is a key driver in the growth we have today. Caroline brings more than 15 years as a business and strategic executive working with some of the world’s biggest companies. And through working with our broader team, she is passionately shaping the future direction of the group as a for-purpose social enterprise.

Caroline believes that when everyone is included, we all benefit. Her vision is for inclusion to be the starting point for all play experiences. She believes creativity can unlock any problem and that meaningful social inclusion can become the new normal if we first solve for it within local community.

$6.3million
dedicated

to making inclusive play a reality on Sydney’s northern beaches.

team

What we’ve achieved so far.

A key driving force behind our movement is that creativity and collaboration can solve any problem. With a design thinking approach, we enlist local creative thinkers along with a community of educators, parents and residents to imagine a world of play for all. With inclusion the starting point for all design we are pushing for a new normal that promotes connection and caring by dissolving as many boundaries as possible.

Our approach centres on empathy, strategic workshops, ideation & prototyping and community empowerment.

3 significant changes in local council policy
positively impacting more than 250,000 residents.

$6.3 million commitment to an inclusive play network
across Sydney’s northern beaches.

Leadership of Belrose Inclusive Play Spaces project. An innovative network of 5 inclusive play spaces. Launched in 2017 in partnership with Northern Beaches Council.

Caroline Ghatt recipient of the 2018 Blackmores Mercie Wheelman Women + Wellbeing “Runner Up” Award for “Strong Being category” – Acts of courage and determination by everyday women who have survived and prospered through adversity. An honour to be the Runner Up for Donna Meads-Barlow and her inspired work with DANII foundation.

2018 Finalist, The Australian Sport, Recreation and Play Innovation Awards (Belrose Inclusive Play Spaces).

2018 Westfield Local Heroes Finalist (Caroline Ghatt).

Working with Cushman and Wakefield we led the Experience Design for “Tumbalong Lights” inclusive playground. In 2018 this site attracted more than 60,000 people in 3 weeks and was the winner of The Australian Sport, Recreation and Play Innovation Awards.

Expert consultants since 2017 for Cushman & Wakefield, the Access & Inclusion Sponsors of Vivid Sydney. Click here to find out more or to visit the Tumbalong Lights Inclusive Playspace website.

NSW Inclusive Play Guidelines

Alongside 50 other stakeholders, we were proud to be a contributing member to the 2018 Everyone Can Play ‘Inclusive Play Guidelines Advisory Group’. Please click here to read and download these new guidelines.

Everyone can play