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Children with special needs in Ballina have a fun and safe new playground to enjoy, thanks to a grant from the Foundation.

Friday, 22 September, 2017

Ballina’s Biala Special School officially opened a new, safer playground this week that was refurbished using a $30,000 grant from Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation. 

Earlier this year, Principal Bhavni Stewart and Biala Support Services CEO Linda Walsh accepted the grant to allow the project to proceed with the laying of a new weather proof synthetic surface in the playground.

"We’re overwhelmed by the amount of support from Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation over the last 10 years with the Foundation also funding our respite camps and the upgrade of Melaleuca House," Ms Walsh said. 

Bhavni Stewart said the Northern Rivers weather had affected the old playground, making it unsafe. It became either slippery in the rain or baked hard by the sun, she said.

"The new playground surface provides a safer environment and more user-friendly space for our students, which is so important in any school but particularly one like ours which caters to children with intellectual and physical disabilities," Ms Stewart said.

Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation Chairman Phil Neat said the primary reason for giving grants was to support the life-changing services that organisations like Biala deliver in local communities. 

Children and other representatives in the new Biala Special School playground

"We’re overwhelmed by the amount of support from Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation over the last 10 years with the Foundation also funding our respite camps and the upgrade of Melaleuca House."

Biala Support Services CEO Linda Walsh

“For almost 50 years Biala Special School has been a community-built and run service that’s brought joy, education and opportunity to the lives of people with a disability,” he said. 

“It has become an extension of many families caring for loved-ones with disabilities, which is a testament to its successful formula and the dedication of staff.”

“The Foundation is proud to support Biala in its work and to help make the daily experience of its students just that little bit better.

Biala Special School is a small independent school for students with a moderate to severe intellectual disability and/or Autism Spectrum Disorder. Biala Support Services provides support to adults with a disability through a range of social, community and recreational programs, as well as accommodation support. 

Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation distributes more than $1.5 million in grants each year to facilitate charitable projects that address disadvantage in local communities throughout the Hunter, Central West, Central Coast, New England, Mid North Coast and Northern Rivers regions of NSW. Since its establishment in 2003, the Foundation has provided more than $16.7 million to over 400 community initiatives.

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