A passion for our local community.
Raised in a small farming community just outside of Oberon in Central Western NSW, Andrew appreciates the value of a supportive and inclusive community. Wherever, and whenever he is able, he tries to give back to his local community here in Wollongong
Andrew maintains several community based roles, notably on the Board of the Illawarra District Rugby Union, as Treasurer; Auditor for Shamrocks Rugby Union Club; and as Treasurer on the P&F for Aspect South Coast School.
Shamrocks Rugby Club.
Moving to Wollongong (Woonona) in 2009, one of the first things Andrew did, was find himself a Rugby Club. Even since moving to West Wollongong in 2011, Andrew has maintained an involvement with the Shamrocks, of note, playing front row in first grade for three seasons, and playing the role of honorary Auditor for his club.
Andrew intends on playing as long as his body will allow him! Of course, his wife is thrilled about this...
'Lukes Place' (Illawarra's first inclusive playground), and Touched by Olivia Foundation
In late 2012, a very close family friend asked Jade if she would be interested in becoming involved in a project for the local community, that would see an all abilities playground built in Corrimal Memorial Park. It is a playground for ALL children, regardless of ability, and promotes inclusive play. It will be built so as to accommodate the very special needs of children with physical disabilities (mobility, hearing and visual impairments), and neurological disorders (such as spectrum disorders).
Working in partnership, the Touched by Olivia Foundation and Wollongong City Council went about planning this amazing playground, and community consultation began.
Although Wollongong City Council committed $125,000 to the project, the community needed to raise at least another $125,000 to get the project off the ground.
Sean and Rita Rapley, inspired by their son Luke, teamed up with Jade and Andrew (inspired by Callum), and the Facebook group 'Friends of Luke's Place - Illawarra's Inclusive Playspace' was born.
Jade took on the fundraising and awareness campaign, which became known as The Butterfly Ball. An exciting, black tie, gala event held at the Novotel Wollongong Northbeach on 16 March 2013. Hosted by Playschool favourite, and Touched by Olivia Foundation Ambassador Jay Laga'aia, the event raised $40,000 for the Playground.
With many amazing sponsors onboard, and all fundraising for our local playground completed, construction began in February 2014.
In only a couple of months, the playground was complete, and open to the public. Have a look at this article in the Illawarra Mercury, and all those excited little faces having a fabulous time!
The Playground has been incredibly popular since the day it opened, bringing a steady flow of new families to the Corrimal business district, so that their children can experience play in an environment that is so gentle, family friendly, and most importantly, all inclusive.
If you'd like to have a look at the brilliant work the Touched by Olivia Foundation does for inclusive play, please take a moment to visit their website.