Warwick Community Comes Together to Help BUSHkids

Yesterday was the official opening of the new Nature Play Area at our Warwick Centre. With the help of the Southern Downs community we have transformed land adjacent to the service Centre into a welcoming Nature Play Area. The area will be used primarily for outdoor therapy intervention, playgroups and family support groups and provides children and families visiting the Centre with an outdoor setting where they can engage in unstructured play activities involving nature. The new area was officially opened by Mayor, Councilor Vic Pennisi and Deputy Mayor, Councilor Ross Bartley.

“Nature serves as a canvas for children to initiate their imagination, inspiring them to create games, tell stories, and make discoveries. This type of unstructured playtime is crucial for the development of executive functions, which are essential for success in school and life,” said BUSHkids Educational and Developmental Psychologist Aisling McCann. “Use of the Nature Play Area will promote community connection with our BUSHkids Playgroups. Our Bootheram story circle will provide a culturally safe and appropriate environment to invite conversations,” added BUSHkids Occupational Therapist Lexi Morgan.

The new area includes vegetable and herb gardens, mud pits, a dry creek bed, meandering deco pathways, and a yarning circle with seating for informal conversations and where visitors to the centre can sit and relax while the kids engage in outdoor play.

“We are particularly excited to be able to incorporate First Nations stories into the play area,” added Carlton. “We wanted a welcoming space for everyone, and we engaged local Githabul man, artist, Nathan Charles to incorporate dreamtime stories from the Southern Downs throughout the area. What we have is a relaxing setting that everyone can enjoy while growing their knowledge of the local rich First Nation’s culture”.

The Nature Play Area is a true community collaboration explained Carlton. “The area has come together thanks to the hard work of our Friends of BUSHkids volunteers in Warwick and we’ve had unbelievable support from the local community to build this invaluable space. Southern Downs Regional Council supported us with an Arts Grant, we’ve had fantastic help from community groups including the Lions Club, the Friendly Society, Rotary Club of Warwick Sunrise and the building Vibrant Communities Group. And we have to say a big thankyou to all the local businesses who have supported the project including the Spano’s IGA Group who raised over $40k for us through their Charity Raceday last July, Bunnings Warwick who helped us out with plants and gardening material, and ACCIONA Energía who provided a grant through their Macintyre Wind Farm Sponsorship Program.

Nature Play Area Opening 2023

*Photos provided by Lucy Waldron of The Warwick Today, Ian Mace and Charlie Harrison