‘For playwork, playworkers and play’.

Steering group announces new vehicle for playwork will soon be open for business.

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The steering group formed to develop plans for a new representative vehicle for playwork has agreed a name and a legal structure for the new body: The Playwork Foundation, and is applying for it to be registered as a new charity.

The proposed objects, part of the constitution of the new body, will be:

‘To advance and promote education, for the public benefit, in children’s play and playwork, in particular but not exclusively by: providing information; raising awareness; facilitating discourse; carrying out research; and building capacity’ within the field of playwork’.

The new playwork foundation is almost ready to launch. Photo: Meriden Adventure Playground

The new playwork foundation is almost ready to launch. Photo: Meriden Adventure Playground

The steering group said that it expects the new body’s trustees to be guided by its founding aims and principles, which were developed through a series of open meetings and mailings from 2013-15. The idea of a new body was raised at a summit meeting in Sheffield, called by Bob Hughes and the late Perry Else to discuss the future of playwork and how it could better make its case.

A survey of the playwork field in 2014-15 found that more than 94 per cent of those responding welcomed the idea of a new vehicle for playwork, and said that representing playworkers, raising the profile of playwork and campaigning for playwork services should be its top priorities.

In an email to prospective members, the steering group said it expected the foundation’s activities to be initially “modest” but that it will, nevertheless, “be open for business” once Charity Commission registration is complete. It intends to “engage fully in the national discussions and debates that are most relevant to our field –offering a platform for the playwork community to do the same”.

The steering group presented its plans at the national Playwork Conference in Eastbourne in March 2016 and wants to encourage the playwork community to get involved and make use of the new vehicle.

The Playwork Foundation Steering Group is:

Simon Bazley
Karen Benjamin
Jeff Hill
Barbara McIlwrath
Simon Rix
Adrian Voce
Debbie Willett
Ali Wood

For further information about joining the Playwork Foundation please click here

2 thoughts on “‘For playwork, playworkers and play’.

  1. Yvonne Owen-Newns says:

    I’m sorry but I can’t see the difference between the role of this group and Play Wales/England and NI. I did feed this back into the survey but I’m obviously a very small minority. By setting up, yet another group you are at risk of diluting resources and the strength of a united voice for play. By setting up another group, with similar and overlapping roles, you are increasing the competition for an ever decreasing pot of public funding.

    It may be a minority view but quite fundamental. Were the people you surveyed asked the right questions? Why can’t you work together with existing organisations to enhance what they are already doing? If the national Play umbrella orgs aren’t doing what you want then why haven’t you been able to influence that change to meet your objectives? It feels like duplication and confusing for those on the outside of Play.

  2. adrianvoce says:

    Thanks for your comment Yvonne. You can see the full survey if you click on the link in the news item above.

    You’re not alone in wanting to see the different bodies working together, and we do understand that concern, especially when resources are so scarce (we are currently unfunded). We too want to work collaboratively wherever possible and hope that this will be reciprocated, but to answer your main concern – that this looks like a duplication of existing roles – the Playwork Foundation’s role will be explicitly tied to promoting the playwork approach and supporting the playwork community, rather than children’s much broader right to play.

    The aim is to help to grow the playwork profession by providing a platform that can represent playwork practitioners and make the case for playwork services. Wherever this is being done by the national bodies, we certainly won’t set up competitive structures or processes but rather aim to support and, where it would be helpful, add value to their work.

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