By CHEYNEE PULLEN
LAST September, the Jordan River Service Inc. began a Work for the Dole project at the Gagebrook Community Centre which has resulted in a wonderful new play facility for the Centre.
We employed a local resident, a single dad, who had previously been attending work experience at the centre. Ken showed great initiative while on work experience and had a wide variety of skills and knowledge which he could share with the Work for the Dole participants.
Ken and the participants had a meeting with our childcare staff and centre parents asking them what they think would be suitable play equipment in the playground. From this meeting, Ken and the workers went on a road trip to look at Tagari Lia, Brighton Family Day Care and Gunn Street Early Learning’s playground set up, and to gather ideas. We wanted something permanent that would last a long time and be able to be used by community children also (as there is not a playground in Gagebrook). They researched and gathered information around the Childcare standards to ensure the safety of the children in care.
The team began by moving and revamping the existing undercover area, shortening it, removing the clear Perspex and replacing it with colourful timber. They also made a matching table.
Once completed, they dug out a bike track, coloured and concreted it in a bright red. The participants decided to create stop and give way signs on posts to start teaching children road safety rules and to make it look more realistic.
Once the bike track was completed, the workers built a bus. They started by constructing a wooden base which they then painted black. They then constructed a steel frame (which included welding etc.) painting it red. Seating was added along with two plastic steering wheels, a telescope, two horns, as well as wooden wheels, head lights, number plates and added a metal exhaust pipe.
At the start of last month, we held an opening of the playground with our Parents R Us group, childcarers, work for the dole supervisor and participants as well as JRS staff and Board of Management. The children absolutely loved their new playground and each of the children who were there got to cut their own ribbon to officially open the new space.
The Playground is one of our projects that has received a lot of positive feedback, not only from staff, volunteers and Board members of the JRS, but also from parents of children accessing childcare.
*Cheynee Pullen is coordinator of the Gagebrook Community Centre