What is the cost to society of excluding people? Most of us take inclusion for granted. But sadly there are many different community groups that experience exclusion and social isolation based on parameters out of their control. Take for instance the elderly, the less mobile, those with hearing impairment, visual impairment, mental health conditions, intellectual disability, the economically disadvantaged, those on the autism spectrum and children with special needs. All of these groups are excluded from what most of us would consider normal daily life. And this doesn’t even touch those who suffer exclusion based on race, religion, gender, sexual orientation and political views.
Watch Marcus’ story
Inclusion at its very simplest means that everyone in a community is able to connect and engage. Think of all the times that you have felt excluded and how that has made you feel. Our world will be a better place if we can achieve a state where everyone can belong, and everyone is included.
Diversity and inclusion has been on many corporate agendas for years and has proven time and time again to improve top-line performance, strengthen client relationships and increase employee motivation and retention. Yet we need to think more broadly than just the existing workforce. Many individuals are excluded from mainstream workforce participation. The onus is on all of us to change the current mindset of what constitutes inclusion as early as possible, long before people enter the workforce.
Consider for a moment a child with special needs requiring a little more of a helping hand than those who are developing normally. Play is the universal need that all children share. Yet children with disabilities or delays in their development are often excluded from their play environments. A typical play environment might have a swing set, a slippery dip, a climbing frame and a see-saw. A child in a wheelchair is instantly excluded from participation. A child with autism will often feel overwhelmed and not be able to engage with the traditional equipment. A child with sensory processing disorder will in all likelihood want to keep a distance from other children and not cope with how the play equipment feels on their skin. In all cases, the child is excluded. And in many cases, the siblings, parents, grandparents, carers of the child are excluded too as it all becomes too hard. Playgrounds typically bring people together, but for children with special needs and their families, playgrounds can push them further away excluding them from their community.
Inclusive play is more than just access; it is it means equal participation. The solution for inclusive play doesn’t need to be expensive, it all comes down to design. All that’s required are ideas, conversations and imagination. And partnerships to build and create possibilities.
At Cushman & Wakefield, we stand for inclusion and are delighted to be the inaugural access and inclusion partner for Vivid Sydney 2017, which is the largest light, music and ideas festival in the world, attracting 2.3 million visitors in 2016. Our vision, along with Destination NSW is to make Vivid Sydney an inclusive and accessible event for all members of the community.
Get involved. Send us a message and let us know if you want take part in similar activities with Cushman & Wakefield.