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Twenty-two businesses in Adelaide’s southern suburbs have been recognised for their child friendly practices at the 2023 Communities for Children Child Friendly Business Awards.

The awards are run by the Communities for Children Onkaparinga Initiative, funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services, and facilitated by AnglicareSA.

They recognise businesses in the City of Onkaparinga that support children and families by creating welcoming and respectful environments.

Each year, families and children are invited to nominate their favourite local child-friendly business for an award. This year, 30 businesses were nominated.

There were 521 community votes received, delivering five ‘Excellence’ award winners, nine ‘Achievement’ award winners and eight businesses who received ‘Encouragement’ certificates. Part of the prize includes promotion by Communities for Children of all award recipients as child friendly businesses.

In a surprise announcement at the Awards Presentation function, guest speaker Jac Varney, Managing Director of D&J Varney Enterprises Pty Ltd which comprises of local manufacturing companies, Filtex Filters and Woodwool Australia announced they would be providing each of the Excellence Award winning businesses with a family zoo pass of their choice as a small token of gratitude and appreciation of their service to the community.

AnglicareSA’s Communities for Children Onkaparinga began working with businesses and local business associations across the community in 2005 to help promote the importance and benefits of family and child-friendly business practices.

Businesses that are welcoming of families and children support a sense of community belonging, promote the well-being of children and provide an important backdrop for childhood learning in the community.

Having a positive sense of identity and experiencing respectful, responsive relationships strengthens children’s interests and skills in being active contributors in their world now and in the future.

Thank you to all twenty-two child friendly businesses for supporting the children and families of our local community by creating stand-out child-friendly environments and practices that welcome and respect everyone.

2023 Child-friendly business award winners

The following information about the child-friendly practices of each business has come from a variety of sources including the community nominations, community votes, and the business.

Excellence award (5 Businesses)

Blue Dolphin Swim Centre

The staff at Blue Dolphin are always kind and patient and take pride in providing swimming lessons of a high standard and a smaller class size. From the moment you walk in the door your child is greeted before the adult. Children receive a birthday card, and they also sing happy birthday. The staff are so friendly, accommodating and bend over backwards to help you out with any requests. I wouldn’t go anywhere else.

Grow Therapeutic Play

Grow Therapeutic Play is passionate about being welcoming and inclusive of all families. Renee is amazing, kind and nurturing, in determining the most suitable child centred holistic approach for each child and family and in making her services a safe-haven for all children. Grow Therapeutic Play is the MOST Child friendly business because Renee is the most caring Play Therapist and has an amazing commitment to children with a disability.

Jungle in Willunga

The jungle in Willunga is an amazing for children to explore, with so many hidden things to find in the Jungle Garden and Fairy Garden and children can even have a photo taken as a Jungle Fairy. My children were greeted by the staff who were super-friendly, and we were able to relax and enjoy a prepacked picnic. “My busy 2-year-old will happily spend a couple of hours there. It’s affordable and there’s even toilets”.

The WOW Sensory Centre Morphett Vale

The WOW Sensory Centre is amazingly run and a great place for both children and parents. They have ensured their building has a comfortable space for feeding, a change table, and wide hallways for prams.A warm, informative, brilliant team. Lots of fun & lots of information. The staff are wonderful at what they do, super positive, and engage meaningfully with the families. A great place for birthday parties too.

Adelaide Fresh Fruiterers – Morphett Vale 

Adelaide Fresh Fruiterers love having kids in store, with small trolleys for children to use. The staff are very welcoming and inclusive and offer all children a free piece of fruit and a piece of smiley fritz. “My toddler asks to go to the “fruit shop” as much as she asks to go to the park!  She loves picking a piece of fruit to eat and pushing her own little trolley.  The staff are always so friendly and speak to her as well as me.  She loves it!”

Achievement Award Winners (8 businesses)

Artistic Claire

Artistic Claire is a caring professional providing fabulous art classes, workshops and parties for children and families of diverse ages, backgrounds, and abilities! It is a positive, creative, and inclusive space that is just so special.  “My son looks forward to his art class every week!” Claire is highly skilled, educates kids well in so many different forms of art and is so encouraging towards developing children’s own sense of creativity!

Bright Star Support Services SA

At Bright Star Support Services, they strive to support community as they would their own family. The office space is welcoming, with a children’s play space and every child is respected as an individual with an individualised approach to their needs. They are always wonderful, caring, and supportive, with their client’s best interest at heart. “It doesn’t feel like going to an appointment…it feels like visiting friends or family”.

Busy Bees at Noarlunga Downs

The Educators at Busy Bees are amazing! They go above and beyond to develop strong and meaningful connections with all children and families and make them feel comfortable. They provide safe, bright fun and inviting play spaces for the children to explore and learn. The food menu always looks and smells delicious, and they do a wonderful job at catering for children’s dietary needs. “Highly recommend this wonderful service”.

Diverse Learning

Diverse Learning are understanding, inclusive and passionate, and stand accountable to children’s voices and ongoing needs. They provide amazing programs for all age groups with a strong focus on person centred approaches. “My daughter attends ‘the mix’ youth group. It has been amazing for not only her but us as a family to attend somewhere. Meg & her team just get it. They understand autism & the struggles we face”.

Free as a Bird Kites – Onkaparinga Workshops

Free as a Bird Kites bring a safe, vibrant & welcoming attitude to every session, with a focus on nature, fun and accessibility. Children of all ages & abilities are welcomed & encouraged to be creative. It’s fantastic the way the children are engaged. “Bernie’s enthusiasm & passion for encouraging children to give it a go & reminding families that the outdoors brings a mindfulness is contagious”.

Great Nature Vegetarian Snacks & Grocery

Jeanie at Great Nature is amazingly friendly and welcoming and always talks to our kids. We don’t visit very often but she always remembers them. There are loads of yummy homemade vegetarian and vegan foods which is especially important for kids with dietary concerns such as dairy intolerance. Amazing service and vibe with a lovely dine in seating area, pet friendly and the prices are pocket friendly too.

Ready Steady Go Kids – Southern Adelaide

Ready Steady Go Kids teaches the fundamentals of different sports to young children in a fun, non-competitive environment. They offer flexibility for families in the way of make-up classes where needed. “The staff are kind and friendly and our son has such a great time, every Sunday morning he runs around the house squealing ‘sports’ until we leave the house”. “I recommend them to every parent I speak to”.

Adelaide Family Chiropractic

Adelaide Family Chiropractic is a great place to go with children. The area is easy to navigate with a pram and staff are incredibly warm and welcoming. “Children are always made a fuss of, and feel so comfortable in their care, and the chiropractors are happy to wait if bubs needs a feed, nappy change, or a mid-appointment cuddle with mum”.

The Macaron Bar Adelaide 

The staff are so friendly at the Macaron Bar and are good at explaining dietary requirements on product sold. “My children love all the choices and the extra care the staff give them. It’s a lovely place to take the kids for a treat”. “They make you feel like family, and they gave out free treats to kids at Halloween that were absolutely amazing”.

Encouragement Certificates (8 businesses)

Christies Beach Early Learning

At Christies Beach Early Learning, the staff work hard to ensure the children feel a strong sense of belonging and there are beautiful and well thought rooms catering to the children’s interests. Families especially love how much thought goes into celebrating different events and the spontaneous cooking, walks etc because of a conversation with a child or family. It really shows how important the community is to the centre.

CJ’s Bakery

“CJ’s Bakery is the friendliest, family centred shop”. They are amazing and lovely folk who always welcome and show interested in the children and are so accommodating to families, and of course have excellent quality food. They support the Beach Road Christmas Pageant, providing a free breakfast and games for children on the pageant morning and often have ‘Easter Bunny visit at Easter.

Gourmet Gluten Free Bakery

Families are happy to drive the distance to Gourmet Gluten Free Bakery. “A lovely child friendly business with great food, a great family atmosphere, and an adorable play spot for children all in a lovely relaxing setting”. They cater for all and do it with a smile, welcoming children, and doing their best to have bakery items for all children with allergies, and at an affordable price.

Jimmy Deane’s Bistro

Jimmy Deane’s Bistro at South Adelaide Football Club is amazing. It’s a safe and fun environment for children of all ages. A fantastic atmosphere for families, with 2 playgrounds and gaming consoles for children. A healthy cheap night out with kids eat free on Saturdays and Fridays, with the addition of a balloon artist on the Friday. On game days they offer jumping castles and other fun children’s activities.

Kay Brothers Wines

Kay Brothers Wines is the friendliest of cellar doors to spend an afternoon as a family. Very welcoming and with great family events. “The staff are so friendly”. There is a huge lawn area with plenty of shade, a nature play area, games, blackboard & colouring for children, dog biscuits, indoor / outdoor seating, and you can take your own rugs & food if you want for a picnic.

Move to Live – Exercise Physiology

Meredith and the Move to Live team are amazingly friendly and very welcoming to our whole family; children or adults, they ensure they feel welcomed and listened to. “Meredith is always happy for my kids to join us for my appointments or to change things if our day is not on track”. We all enjoy going there and seeing the wonderful business she has created to help others.

Pearson Allied Health Services

Friendly, welcoming, helpful, and encompassing of diversity, Pearson Allied Health Services work with children of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds, always striving to promote and provide respectful services and working to children’s needs. They offer children’s educational experiences through interactive exhibits, programs, and materials, have facilities for changing and feeding infants and young children and are proudly a child safe organisation.

Aldinga Kinder Haven

Aldinga Kinder Haven are an amazing, friendly childcare service who really care, not only about the children but family and wider community members. They are always assisting the community with items for free and deserve to be recognised for what they do.