Play England is a charitable company. We have a small, committed team of staff who carry out the day-to-day running of the charity. They report to a board of Trustees, all of whom play an active role in running of the organisation.
Play England is a membership-led organisation. Members direct and shape the priorities of the organisation through their on-going active engagement and at the charity’s annual general meetings.
Nicola Butler (Chair)
Nicola Butler is Play England’s chair of Trustees. She is Director of Hackney Play Association since 2009, managing Homerton Grove Adventure Playground, Clapton Park Play Project, and the Inclusive Play scheme for disabled children, their friends and family as well as the innovative Hackney Play Streets project.
For eight years previously, she headed the Free Play Network. Nicola is co-author of ‘Design for Play’, Play England’s guide for successful play spaces as well as ‘Places for Play’, an online photo exhibition.
Neil worked in engineering before moving to local authority greenspace, parks and play provision where he led on Green Flag Awards and the 2002 Golden Jubilee royal visit to Buckinghamshire. He joined the Outdoor Play and Learning (OPAL) CIC in 2013 supporting staff education, training and outdoor play design.
Neil became a trustee in 2014 and represents us on the UK Play Safety Forum and the All Party Parliamentary Group on a Fit and Healthy Childhood (APPG FHC). He is also a member of this APPG’s National Obesity Framework working group.
Now retired and playing mainly with his grandchildren, Mark fell into a career in playwork in 1981. He ran playschemes in York, then moved to children’s participation work with the Children’s Society in Leeds, and ended up in Bradford, where he wrote the Council’s Play Strategy. He has a Playwork Diploma and a Masters in Research. A founder member of Yorkshire Play, he is also a trustee of York Playspace. His long experience of the politics of play makes him a convinced advocate for a strong national strategic body for play.
Lesli is an enthusiastic senior lecturer in Playwork at Leeds Beckett University and brings to the trustee board a wealth of experience of work with children and young people in a wide range of play and educational settings. She also has an excellent understanding of development, management, strategy and policy, having lead on playwork education and training in recent years for SkillsActive across the UK.
Since 2006 she has led Islington Play Association (IPA) as its Chief Executive. The IPA works to improve children’s lives and to mitigate the effects of poverty through providing excellent play and education services. The IPA delivers major contracts for the local authority, independently funded innovative services for children living in challenging circumstances and continues its campaigning role fighting for the rights of children.Prior to this Anita managed the Hoxton Sure Start programme, offering support, advice, childcare and family support services to families in Hackney. Anita has over 15 years of experience creating, funding and delivering projects supporting childcare provision.
Nick has been involved in play and playwork for nearly 30 years. Whilst currently Play Development Manager for Hackney Council, he previously worked in the voluntary sector, encompassing both Islington and Haringey Play Associations (where he is now Chair of the Board of Trustees) and as a Playworker, working and managing various adventure playgrounds in North and East London.
Since 2007, Kirsty has lead the development of the Play team at Children’s Scrapstore. The Play Team focus on developing play in school with the Scrapstore PlayPod project along with other projects and products.
Before that, Kirsty worked for a variety of voluntary sector organisations developing outdoor learning, community and play projects from after-school clubs, and forest schools to designing community spaces and resource library.