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A Place to Play and Grow: Queensland’s New Safe Space for Homeless Women and Children

In Queensland, more than 60% of homeless people are women. Whatever circumstances lead a woman to become homeless, including the decision to leave a home of violence, the prospect of being without a safe space is daunting. These feelings are often exacerbated for mothers with concerns for their children.

As a result, there is a continued demand for safe accommodation for single mums and their children. The Property Industry Foundation (PIF) and Anglicare recognised this need and joined forces to deliver the Play and Grow centre in Queensland. The Play and Grow Centre provides a state-of-the-art extension to Anglicare’s Homelessness Supportive Accommodation in the region.

The new centre features remodelled kitchen facilities, counselling rooms, space to host educational events as well as a covered and secure play area, designed pro-bono by COX.

The new educational and play centre is instrumental in supporting young women and their children needing a safe space to build skills and friendships, helping break the cycle of homelessness and abuse.

Property Industry Foundation QLD Chairman, Brian McGuckin.

It is a brave decision for a woman to leave a violent relationship and it is crucial that we have safe and secure services ready to help them and their children when they do.

Head of Fundraising and Events at Anglicare Southern Queensland, Tiffany Berg

The Amanda Flynn Play and Grow Centre is a much needed addition to our current service we offer homeless women and children. Having a safe space where children can grow and play, assists the children with their social, emotional and educational needs.

From an architectural standpoint this project is small, however, it is a symbol of great philosophical change for the respite. “A place where play is learning, and learning is play.”

The project is conceived around two main spaces akin to the family room and deck of a home. There’s a kitchen, dining table and chairs, a comfy sofa and television, with an outdoor area that encourages play.

The deck is open and connected to its surroundings while simultaneously offering protection and security for vulnerable users. The envelope alternates between simple materials like aluminium angles and translucent/opaque polycarbonate sheeting that allow light and breeze indoors, while remaining private. Strategically placed windows allow protected views out to the city and immediate lush landscapes.

Outdoor spaces are broken into different entertaining areas. A fully protected fenced area allows toddlers to play with others independently under the watchful eyes of mothers and carers. Cubby houses, play equipment and seating nooks have helped create a backyard that will nurture good memories, fun and friendships for years to come.

COX Director, Tim Morgan

The most gratifying thing about projects like this are the smiles and joy of the mothers and children who will use the spaces. It is amazing how much goodwill and camaraderie the team and donors had, bringing to fruition an asset for the education and safety of women and children in need.

Konrad Panitz

Peter Solberg

Tim Morgan