What do you do when you find an all abilities play centre that suits your kids’ needs but is an hour’s drive from home? Well, if you are Sam and Iain Thompson you open your own one closer to home. And in doing so, Shine Shed North West will be bringing joy to families, and others with a disability, who have similar needs to the Thompson children. Recently, BJ and I went along to check out the soon to open Shine Shed North West (opening 4 July 2020) to see this new all abilities play centre in Western Sydney.
SHINE SHED NORTH WEST – ALL ABILITIES PLAY CENTRE SYDNEY
Last year we had the pleasure of visiting and reviewing the first Shine Shed all abilities play centre in Campbelltown, in South West Sydney. Since our visit, I’ve enjoyed following along with their Facebook page and it’s been wonderful seeing the happy faces of kids, families, teens and adults with a disability who visit the purpose-built play centre. And now it’s time for North West Sydney to have its own all abilities play centre.
The busy Thompson family includes three children, Nate 15 years and Brianna 17 and Zach 12 who both live with a rare genetic disorder called CDG (PIGN) MCAHSS1- Congenital Disorders of Glycolsylation subtype PIGN. BJ and I had the pleasure of meeting Zach, and I’m calling it early, I think Zach may just be the secret weapon for business success. Zach’s big smile and welcoming nature is going to win over everyone.
Zach may also have a modelling career ahead of him after happily posing for my photos and showing off the awesome equipment including the climbing wall and basket swing.
Shine Shed North West has the advantage of knowing what has worked well at the Shine Shed All Abilities Play Centre Campbelltown and have replicated much of the equipment and chosen alternatives where they feel appropriate. The centres offer an environment suitable for kids and people who are highly active and those with significant needs. In other words, this is no ordinary play centre.
Sam liked the idea of a foam pit-like environment but preferred to find an alternative to the foam. So the Shine Shed North West has installed a giant pillow which replicates the environment of a foam pit. Sam and Iain offered me the opportunity to give it a go but I figured all dignity may be lost in trying to get myself out of there and decided to hand the modelling over to Iain.
While there is a large open plan gym area with a wheelchair swing, hammock, swings and trampoline, there are places to retreat to for quiet and calm play.
Bri’s Calm Cubby is sensitively lit with dim lighting and is equipped with a large activity board with a variety of activity options. It’s lovely to see the board is large enough to allow side-by-side play for peers and it’s height is ideal for wheelchair users.
The cubby seemed to live up to its name with BJ taking a rare quiet moment to pause and check out the lava tube.
No-one needs to miss out on the fun of the flying fox with a supportive seat with harness. Shine Shed North West has a hoist available for visitors to use to make transfers on to the equipment possible for those who need a little extra help.
The indoor play centre is securely fenced which is comforting for parents of younger children and those with a tendency to do a runner. It also means some parents or carers may have the opportunity to sit in the cafe and enjoy a cuppa while their loved one enjoys the play centre.
BJ would definitely approve of the menu options and how wonderful is it to have a place where alternative communication is provided. I’m always a fan of being able to incorporate choice making and communication goals into an outing.
ACCESSIBLE BATHROOM SHINE SHED NORTH WEST SYDNEY
Shine Shed North West Sydney is equipped with the facilities needed to allow visitors to stay and play, including an accessible bathroom with a hoist and height adjustable adult-sized change table.
ACCESSIBLE PARKING AT THE SHINE SHED NORTH WEST SYDNEY
Onsite parking is available with eight Shine Shed spaces at the centre and overflow parking available on the street.
From my experience, some of the most successful businesses in the disability sector are those driven by passion and an understanding of the needs of people using their services. The Shine Shed was designed to be “a place where your child can meet their sensory needs, develop skills and make friends in a fun, nurturing and supported environment.” I think the Shine Shed all abilities centres offer this and so much more. And part of being inclusive is offering the centres to all ages, including teen and adult day programs.
Whether you’re looking for an activity for the weekend, a rainy day or the school holidays, the Shine Shed North West Sydney and Zach will welcome you through their doors.
The Shine Shed North West Sydney website is still under development but you can keep up to date with news on their Facebook page.
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