Inclusive family event comes to Geelong

Friend in Me founder Louise Larkin said she was thrilled to bring the event to Geelong. (Ivan Kemp) 319163_02

By Jena Carr

A family fun day for children of all abilities is coming to Geelong for an all-inclusive event.

The Friend in Me charity will host the No Child Left Behind Inclusive Family Fun Day event on Saturday, February 25, from 11 am to 2pm, at the Geelong Racecourse, 99 Breakwater Road.

Friend in Me founder Louise Larkin said this was the event’s first time in Geelong after the organisation’s six years of operation.

“It’s really nice to be bringing it to Geelong and we’re getting a really good response, with donors and sponsors and ticket sales, which have just kicked over 800,” she said.

Mrs Larkin said her main aim for the event was to create a fully inclusive day open to kids of all backgrounds and abilities.

“It’s not a limited event,” she said.

“I think a really big thing is having able-bodied children and families with no challenges be amongst children that may have some challenges and just have a little bit more of an understanding, awareness and education.”

Mrs Larkin is a mum of three with another on the way. She said the event, run by volunteers, would cater to all children with wheelchair swings, Auslan interpreters, and sensory zones.

“It’s totally about community connection,” she said.

“What I say to my girls is everyone has a beating heart.

“I purely do this out of the passion, and you know I have the time and I have the energy to advocate where some of these families don’t because they’re going through so many challenges.”

Mrs Larkin said the event included superheroes, princesses, jumping castles, a disco music castle, face painting, live entertainment, an animal farm, walking life-like dinosaurs, a sensory room with arts and crafts, and food trucks.

“The events are just getting bigger and better, which is awesome,” she said.

“Anything you can think of that would involve kids’ fun day out, we have.

“We just want people to remember our brand, remember what we stand for and to just have a really good day in the community.”

Proceeds will allow the Friend in Me charity to create an inclusive educational program and help sponsor respite retreats for families and birthday parties.

Tickets to the event are available online for $10.50 at