The Playwork Foundation has been awarded registered charity status by the Charity Commission.
Trustees of the new charity, which launched as a membership body in November 2017, said that its registration now completes the first stage of a long-term project to create a new vehicle that can make the case for playwork services, help develop the playwork approach and provide a representative platform for playwork practitioners.
The new organisation, they said, will promote the value of playwork, support playworkers and advocate for children’s play. Ultimately it will aim to re-establish playwork as a recognised professional practice throughout the UK, and create a professional body of playwork practitioners.
The Playwork Foundation was developed by a steering group, from 2015-17 after a survey of the field overwhelmingly supported the idea.
Karen Benjamin, chair of the Board of Trustees, said:
“This is very good news. Our board has worked very hard, with no funding, for 2-3 years to reach this point. We were given a mandate by our colleagues in the playwork field to build a new vehicle for our profession and this recognition by the Charity Commission means that the vehicle is now ready to hit the road.
We are at the start of a long journey to secure the recognition and support for playwork that it deserves, and which children need. Becoming a registered charity means that we can now begin to raise the funds for this vital work. We are very excited about the possibilities.”
The board’s statement continues:
“This is great news for playworkers and ultimately for children. As Professor Fraser Brown said at our launch event in November, playwork is a unique approach to working with children – one that actively empowers them, rather than aiming to direct or mould them. The value and importance of children’s play is widely under-recognised or misunderstood and children’s lives are increasingly structured and proscribed. The playwork approach is the antidote. We want to secure the recognition and the resources the profession needs to reach more of the countless numbers of children who could benefit from it.
“One important message as we pass this milestone, especially to our members and others in the field, is that the trustees do not presume to be the arbiters or directors of our practice, how it develops or how it should be represented. We are merely filling the necessary role of being accountable as the governing body for a bespoke playwork vehicle.
“We hope the field will now join us in constructing and populating the type of structures, processes and fora our profession needs, and which in the past, in England, we have relied on other organisations, with different agendas, to provide.
“Without staff or funding this has been a slow-build project and we appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding about that, but the work to develop the capacity we need for this important mission can now begin in earnest”.
The Playwork Foundation
Registered charity no. 1176557
You can support the Playwork Foundation by becoming a member here