Enclosed children’s playground, barbecue at Gateway church open to public

By Jess Densley

It’s taken six-months to build but a community playground and barbecue in East Warrnambool is finally ready to bring some fun for kids.

The enclosed children’s playground and public barbecue facilities on Raglan Parade was constructed as part of the Gateway Church-run Work-for-the-Dole project.

While the playground has been built on church land, pastor Tim Smock said it was built with the aim of providing a place for families in the whole community to use, not just for the church. “The playground is always open, the barbecue is always open and it’s gated in,” Mr Smock said.

 Fun for kids: Benjamin, 4, and Elliana Newton, 3, put the new playground at Gateway Church to the test. Picture: Christine Ansorge

“We just imagine that this place can be a space that connects people together in the community, so come and use it, we’d love to see you.”

The church has been running a Work-for-the-Dole program, coordinated by Western District Employment Access, for the more than two years.

Work-for-the-dole participant Johno Davis said he had been working on the playground for about four months. “To see it from scratch to where it is now, it’s a good feeling,” Mr Davis said.

 Team effort: Tom Leach, Johno Davis, Brett Hicks, Mandy Hamilton, Peter Collins and pastor Tim Smock at the opening of the new playground at Gateway Church of Christ which was built as part of the work-for-the-dole program. Picture: Christine Ansorge

He had the honour of cutting the ribbon at the official opening on Sunday in front of his own kids and grandchild.

Funding for the $26,000 project has come from a number of south-west foundations including the Uebergang Foundation, Gwen & Edna Jones Foundation, Thomas O’Toole Foundation, Ern Hartley Foundation, Archie & Hilda Graham Foundation and AL Lane Foundation.

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