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Blog 21

23 Jun

Thoughtful reflections on a very real, frightening and tragic issue, from an organisation working on the play movement’s front line.

Islington Play CEO

Blog

I am thinking about Play, about violence, about challenging behaviour and about Play.
As an organisation fully based in Islington, IPA is profoundly affected by the recent tragic murders in our borough of our young people.
I wonder how we can make sense of what is happening and what we can do.

I strongly feel that media stories need to be challenged. I remember being terrified of nuclear war when I was young. I didn’t have a free paper on every bus or the news or twitter on my phone but I knew about it. I used to cry with nightmares sometimes.
Do we know what children are scared of now?

The constant media story of children in Islington is one of violent knife crime, ASBO’s, drug dealers, gangs, high house prices, no jobs, ill health and obesity. The children and young people are all too aware of this…

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Over to Eastbourne

28 Feb
The National Playwork Conference on 4-5 March could be a pivotal moment for the field.

A rolling discussion, initiated by Professor Perry Else of Sheffield Hallam University and Bob Hughes of Play Education last summer, about how the playwork field can remake the case for staffed play provision in the face of mounting cuts and a hugely unsympathetic policy landscape, moves to Eastbourne next week.

Since that Argument for Playwork gathering in July, subsequent meetings in Gloucester and Birmingham have developed the beginnings of a consensus within the field, that the time is right to create and establish our own vehicle: an independent playwork practitioner body, owned by and accountable to its members.

Nobody is underestimating  the scale of such a task, but one major hurdle – finding a broad initial agreement within the sector about what kind of body we want – may be in reach. The National Playwork Conference, held in Eastbourne on 4th and 5th March will either confirm or confound that hope.

The group driving this process has produced a short statement setting out the proposed direction of travel and some broad principles for a potential new body. It is asking the playwork community to endorse it by expressing an interest in possibly joining such an organisation when and if the project achieves its aim.

This invitation makes Eastbourne a pivotal moment. Without a strong mandate from the field, it will be difficult to sustain any credible momentum for such an ambitious project. If, on the other hand, the playwork community decides to organise itself; work together; adopt some structures and processes, reconciling our differences to the purpose of re-establishing our common ground and amplifying our collective voice and influence, there’s absolutely nothing to stop us. Like the Spirt of Adventure Play conference in Cardiff,  every year Eastbourne demonstrates that there is far more uniting UK playwork than there is dividing it.

Perhaps this year we can harness that spirit to take playwork to the next level.

Adrian Voce

If you are part of the UK playwork community and want to endorse this process but are not attending Eastbourne, please email kbenjamin@glos.ac.uk and she will happily add you to the list. Thanks.

The statement can be read here.

Eastbourne Statement, March 2014

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