We grown-ups are too serious and could could benefit from rediscovering our inner child, according to a woman with grand plans for new community facilities including “adult playgrounds”.
Ms Barker is developing an idea for playgrounds and a wildlife zoo in Bendigo.
“I’m hoping to get something going in Huntly or Epsom, Kangaroo Flat and Strathfieldsaye,” she said.
Ms Barker said these were areas were growing and needed more public spaces.
She would like to see playgrounds big enough for adults to move around in, with other amenities for those who might not want to jump onto play equipment.
She would also like to see at least one free indoor playground built in Bendigo.
She envisaged spaces where parents could play next to and with their children, believing bringing families back together could help relieve stress and make people more resilient.
“People are so busy, busy, busy these days they need time to relax,” Ms Barker said.
“This is actually a way to enjoy yourself (as an adult) in slides, maybe big slides. And swings .. this is a way to bring the joy back … it’s a journey to getting people back to laughing at themselves.”
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At a time when many were battling mental health challenges, Ms Barker said being able to find joy was more important than ever.
Ms Barker was hoping voluntary helpers would come together by September to share ideas and make inroads into the plan.
Ms Barker said government could not provide all the answers and people in the community were often better placed to drive change.
Her idea was one of a number that had emerged at least in part through local group Make a Change’s community empowerment programs.
The group’s director Karen Corr said other ideas included a “green gym” which could get people to exercise through tree planting and gardening, local tours to connect city dwellers to nature and a program providing previously unwanted pets to those struggling with isolation or mental health challenges.
A recent Make a ChangeOutside the Square function saw 20 or more people share the projects they were working on.
“It’s clear that community led solutions are wanted, needed and available. It is essential these local solutions be supported and encouraged to continue to thrive,” Ms Corr said.
Those who would like to get involved in the adult playground and wildlife zoo project can call Ms Barker on 0437 587 589 or email firstname.lastname@example.org