I accidentally fell into the wonderful world of adventure playgrounds and playwork in 1978 – a bit like how my 5 year old niece warned me what could happen with puddles “You might fall upside down into the sky and never ever fly back up!”
I started out on Bermondsey adventure playground, then did every job from toilet cleaner to Director (often at the same time) at Hackney Play Association for 18 years. Highlights of my time there were setting up the Play On Estates, Design and Build and Play Training Unit projects and co-authoring the first edition of the Quality in Play quality assurance system.
I was also privileged to be a co-founder of Playday and helped to set up London Play with colleagues from other play associations. I moved to London Play where I managed the Quality in Play programme and helped with policy development including the Mayor’s Supplementary Planning Guidance on play and Developing a Play Strategy documents.
Next stop was Play England where I was the London Regional Manager and then managed the Play Pathfinder adventure playground capital and the community-run adventure playground small grants programmes. Finally I managed the Exploring Nature Play project and helped to set up what became The Wild Network.
I was very proud to receive the 2011 Lifetime in London Play award – not least because it comes from playwork peers and colleagues. Every day I have my morning cuppa from the commemorative mug!
I have always enjoyed writing and throughout my playwork career have tried to set down some of the amazing insights children have given me into their play worlds and link these to what the research and theory was beginning to show us.
I am also a freelance consultant providing playwork training, but hey, nobody is perfect.