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The Kids Plus Centre for Therapy, Research and Training was officially opened on Thursday, 12 December, with over 200 guests taking part in the celebrations. The Hon. Sarah Henderson, Senator for Victoria, and Libby Coker MP were both in attendance, with official ribbon-cutting formalities undertaken by Sarah Foley, a co-founder and physiotherapist of Kids Plus Foundation.

Located at the Deakin University Waurn Ponds campus, the $3m Centre was designed by architects Baade Harbour Australia, taking careful consideration into creating a welcoming space for families and children. The Centre was then brought to life by Lyons Construction over a 12-month construction period.

Key accessibility features of the new build include an in-built ceiling hoist in the gym, suspension and swing hooks throughout, button entry at the front and rear doors of the building and a fully accessible Changing Places toilet. Care-fully selected equipment, including a Pilates reformer machine, treadmill and portable hoist, are also features of the new Centre.

“The new Centre will enable expansion of the programs we can provide including increased group programs, parent training and more specialised therapy equipment,” Kelly Reynolds, Director of Therapy Services says.

“There are more spaces that are designed and suitable for teenagers and young adults with larger equipment and more specific equipment to support their goals.”

The Kids Plus Family Playground is also an important element of the new Centre. The playground allows Kids Plus to embrace its fun, play-based approach to therapy with all of the equipment carefully selected to meet this purpose.

Features of the playground include a bike track, ground-level trampoline, rebound wall, sand pit with play equipment, musical elements for use in music therapy and a playground with multiple slides and additional features.

“Therapists are excited and can’t wait to start seeing clients here in the New Year,” Kelly says.

The $3m Centre has been funded by philanthropic grants, local community fundraising efforts and $1.47m from the Federal Government’s Building Better Regions Fund. A key philanthropic grant of $750,000 was received from the Anthony Costa Foundation.

Kids Plus provides family-focused therapy services to over 200 families across South Western Victoria. The Foundation specialises in interventions across the life span for babies, children and young people with cerebral palsy and similar physical conditions.