Interest grows in a new vehicle for playwork

25 Mar
Following a successful stint at the Playwork Conference in Eastbourne earlier this month, the momentum towards establishing a new playwork body continues to grow.

Around 150 people have now broadly agreed on the purpose and nature of the kind of vehicle that the field wants to create.  A new playwork body could, for example:

  • Represent playworkers UK-wide, giving them a collective voice.
  • Be a focus for good practice: supporting research and other areas that develop playwork.
  • Promote playwork nationally and support local campaigns.
  • Lobby for policy change to create a legal and regulatory framework conducive to playwork services.
  • Provide support and benefits for playworkers, such as networking, information, skills sharing, events and resources.
  • Be outward looking, building links with other professions and sectors.

The discussions have also led to a broad consensus on what kind of vehicle the playwork community needs, with some general principles giving us a clear direction of travel: -

  1. Based on a cohesive narrative of playwork
    A new vehicle should be founded on clear and up-to-date knowledge, skills and understandings of playwork.
  2. Principled
    It should develop its aims and activities in a way that is fully consistent with playwork principles, regardless of market forces or policy trends.
  3. Pioneering
    It should be an agent for change, unafraid to challenge the status quo.
  4. Independent
    It should be independent of other agencies, owned by and accountable only to its members, however it may be funded and administered.
  5. Collaborative
    It should work with other organisations in the sector, aiming to complement existing activities that support playwork, rather than competing with them.
  6. Non-directive
    It should aim to mirror the values and ethos of the playwork approach: including, supporting and responding to the field rather than seeking to control or direct it.
  7. Inclusive
    It should work always to make playwork as available and as accessible as possible to the widest range of children, from the fullest diversity of their communities, whatever the barriers.
  8. Representative
    It should act only with a clear mandate from its members, through transparent, representative structures and processes.
  9. A champion for play
    It should be an advocate for playwork and the value of playing in general, working with and supporting play champions everywhere.
  10. Credible and united
    It should build unity and consensus within the playwork field, so as to speak with a credible and authoritative voice.
  11. Not-for-profit
    It must be non-commercial, securing only such funds as it needs to further its aims for playwork.

This is an organic process: nothing is carved in stone and these aspirations will, no doubt, continue to evolve as a new organisation starts to take shape.

Karen Benjamin and I are both very keen to stress that, whilst we have, up until now, led this process from a practical point of view, it has been a collective initiative from the start. We intend to continue to organise open meetings to involve as many people as possible in building this thing, and we have also proposed a steering group to share more of the tasks ahead.

In the meantime, we would like to see the numbers expressing an interest in the initiative, continue to grow. If you can broadly endorse the approach outlined here, would like to see a new body established on this basis, and might, in principle, be interested in joining it once it is formed, please e-mail adrianvoce@me.com with “playwork vehicle” as the subject. We will then add you to the mailing list.

Thank you!

 

Adrian Voce

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2 Responses to “Interest grows in a new vehicle for playwork”

  1. SkillsActive 25 March 2014 at 12:26 pm #

    Reblogged this on The Register of Playwork Professionals.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Knitting and weaving | PLAYFILE - 29 March 2014

    […] I can’t knit or weave with real wool warp and weft, but I do want to spend what time is left to me (many years I hope!)  doing something similar with the playwork world. Not to try make of it what I think it should be, but to see what can be made of the arguments  and agreements and new understandings that constantly appear and disappear. That come into fashion and go out and come back in again – like flared trousers. Not fair to talk about fashions when talking about playwork? Well, when I started on Bermondsey adventure playground in 1978 the rhetoric that we used to get and justify our funding was that we were keeping kids off the streets. And now many projects are trying to encourage children to play in streets as their doorstep right to play domain. Or more accurately, persuade their parents and neighbours that this is a good thing in a country where there are about four vehicles on the roads for each child. That’s about 40 million motors and about 11 million children and young people. So here I think we have an existential playworker problem.  Should we be making and holding special spaces where children can play according to the theory and science that we know nowadays. Or should we be thinking about how children can playfully inhabit the whole world they find themselves in? Working well beyond the traditional space and time boundaries of playwork? The liminal spaces that Penny Wilson discovers with children? The benign neglect that Tim Gill reminds us that most of us remember? So back to knitting and weaving. I will leave that to the experts old and new. But I do want to be part of a new swirl about what playwork is and might become. Look here for starters http://policyforplay.com/2014/03/25/interest-grows-in-a-new-vehicle-for-playwork/ […]

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