Communications Associate Volunteer

July 11th, 2020 by

Communications Associate – 3-6 month flexible part time volunteer position

Play England has a vital message to pass on to parents, local and national government but we are hampered by our lack of resource and ability to spread the word effectively. If you have a little time on your hands at the moment, perhaps you could support us by volunteering. Do you have the knowledge to help us write a communication strategy and action plan for Play England? Or to train us on how to use social media more effectively?

If you have the motivation to work unsupervised and deliver tasks to deadlines this could be the opening you’ve been waiting for. We can offer you the experience of working with a range of Trustees, building your network, managing your own time and learning more about the play sector in England. All these will enhance your cv and add some voluntary experience. You will also be helping us to make England into a country where everybody can fully enjoy their right to play throughout their childhood and teenage years.

You will need:

  • an interest in play (access your inner child!)
  • 3-4 hours a week at a time that suits you for 3 – 6 months
  • an internet connection
  • the ability to impart your social media and communication skills to enthusiastic learners

If you are interested in applying, please email with your ideas on how you could help us.

Latest Government Guidance on Playgrounds

June 29th, 2020 by

Play England welcomes the announcement by Boris Johnson that playgrounds can begin to reopen from 4 July.

Government guidance for playground operators can be found at:

For further ideas and inspiration on how to support children’s play, see:

Play After Lockdown Webinar

June 23rd, 2020 by

A Play England Webinar, 23 June 2020

Hear the inspiring stories about how adventure playgrounds and playworkers have been supporting children throughout Lockdown.

As we prepare for the summer, this briefing is full of practical hints and tips for playworkers and all those who work with children at play.

Read Play England’s Play After Lockdown briefing here.

In response to your requests we have shared the risk assessments which were mentioned on the webinar:

COVID-19 and Children’s Play

June 18th, 2020 by

Download full report here.

Written for the UK Play Safety Forum, including Play England, Play Scotland, Play Wales and PlayBoard Northern Ireland, by Professor David Ball, Tim Gill and Andy Yates.

This report sumarises the emerging evidence on the effects of play restrictions in terms of a) reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission in the population and b) the detriments to children resulting from the restrictions.

It concludes that the current UK interventions need to be urgently reviewed because:

  • the benefits to children of playing outside bring a host of social, emotional and physical rewards. These have long been undervalued and at this time appear to have been completely ignored. Consequently, children are suffering harm;
  • the evidence is that the risks posed by COVID-19 to children playing in outdoor spaces is very low;
  • proportionate decision making requires that trade-offs between the risks and benefits of safety interventions are part of the decision process. The evidence summarised below is that current UK policy is much more harmful to children than beneficial.

Read the full report, COVID-19 and Children’s Play.

Play After Lockdown

June 14th, 2020 by

A Play England Briefing, 15 June 2020

Play England has published a guide for professionals and parents to enable them to prioritise children’s play as lockdown eases. 

With an introduction by Bob Hughes, this is a practical guide to supporting children’s play, helping to address issues including child well-being, risk benefit assessment and leadership.

Children have been massively affected by the physical and social changes that have restricted their daily lives in an unprecedented way. Play is the key way that children will be able to understand their experiences and to mitigate any negative impacts.

In May 2020, child mental health experts called on the government to prioritise children’s play over academic learning when schools in England reopen and lockdown eases.  Play After Lockdown provides practical advice to support child wellbeing, manage risks and provide leadership in planning for play.

Schools, out of school clubs, childcare and nurseries are all trying hard to respond to the practical guidelines being issued but the real issues will be children’s mental health and processing difficult experiences during this period.

While outdoor playgrounds remain closed the message to children is that they cannot play. Organisations will need to be aware of ways to support children and young people to reengage socially and physically with their world and the best way to do this is to allow them to play.

Chair of Play England, Anita Grant, says: “The organisations that will be the first to support children’s play are vitally important in the journey to wellbeing and happiness for children who have not seen friends, have had their freedoms curtailed and have experienced loneliness and we hope this practical guide will support a play based approach to every aspect of their planning”.

Download Play After Lockdown here.

Children’s Play Policy Forum Statement on Racism

June 13th, 2020 by

As a group of play professionals, researchers and academics leading on issues pertaining to Play in the four nations we have agreed it to be important to respond to the terrible death of George Floyd and the profound outpouring of experiences, voices and outrage that have followed. 

We are deeply saddened that there has had to be another life lost to raise the issue of systemic racism in our countries.

The CPPF aim to build on this opportunity to highlight this issue to review our own work and membership.

We aim to include all children when we seek to look at play policy and are aware that we can always do more. We, like other groups cannot be complacent or accepting of racism in any form. 

We are aware of the shortcomings in the paucity of BAME colleagues both in our own group and in senior positions in the play sector more widely. We feel it is important for us to really look at and explore the impact of systemic racism on the children in our Countries 

We aim that this terrible event will ensure that we keep this issue central to our plans moving forward with the aim to help create a future with a level playing field. 

We will ensure that this statement underpins all our future discussions, work, interactions and publications.

Play England is a member of the Children’s Play Policy Forum. More information about the forum can be found at:

Celebrating difference & championing diversity in play

October 1st, 2019 by

Training Event, Wednesday 6 November 2019, 9am – 1pm
Children’s Scrapstore, Bristol, BS2 9LB

Play England is excited to be hosting this training event in partnership with Children’s Scrapstore in Bristol.

The event will examine the barriers to inclusion and how we overcome them. Delivered through creative activities by Lucy Rae, Trainer and Equalities SLE and Alice Hoyle, Trainer, Youth Worker and Teacher.

To book, email or call 0117 908 5644.

£40 for Play England members, £50 for non members.

A Manifesto for Play: Policy Proposals for Children’s Play in England

September 20th, 2019 by

Play England, the Playwork Foundation and International Play Association England are delighted to have joined forces to publish a Manifesto for Play, ahead of any upcoming General Election.

The Manifesto, based on a consultation with children’s professionals, calls on Britain’s political parties to include Leadership, Legislation and Investment in children’s play in their election manifestos to transform the health, happiness and well-being of children in England.

Writing to Members of Parliament

We are asking all members and supporters to write to their Member of Parliament asking MPs to support the Manifesto for Play.

Click here for advice and information on writing to MPs.

The Manifesto for Play calls for 4 pledges for children that Play England wants to see the political parties include in their election manifestos:

  1. Leadership – create a Cabinet minister for children with responsibility for play
  2. Legislation – make planning for play a statutory duty
  3. Investment – more and better play opportunities, spaces and services for children including play in in parks and public spaces, playgrounds, housing, play streets, after school and holiday play schemes, adventure playgrounds and schools
  4. Delivering for play – investment in quality support and training for professionals.

Read the Manifesto here.

Nicola Butler, Chair of Play England said:

“It’s time to start taking play seriously. Too many children and young people in England are unable to enjoy a wide range of play opportunities and are losing out on the benefits of play.

“Children tell us that play makes them happy and is an important part of their daily lives.  They want more and better opportunities to play.  That’s why we’ve joined forces with the Playwork Foundation and the International Play Association for England to launch this manifesto.”

Karen Benjamin, Chair of the Playwork Foundation said:

“Playworkers support children’s play through a specific approach and understanding, based on strong evidence and research, of the importance of time and spaces for play.

“It is vitally important that this profession is acknowledged and valued, and that spaces for children to play freely are protected for the benefit and enjoyment of all children.”

Meynell Walter, Chair of the International Play Association [England] said:

“Children have an innate need to play, recognised by the right to play being enshrined in Article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. IPA England dedicates its work to promoting this, and we call upon Government and public bodies to adopt and action the policy proposals in this manifesto. Leadership at all levels and associated funding is essential NOW to support opportunities for their play.”

Play England is a national charity that campaigns for better play opportunities for children in England.  Play England organises National Play Day in partnership with Playboard Northern Ireland, Play Scotland and Play Wales; and publishes guidance on Designing for Play and Managing Risk in Play Provision.

The Playwork Foundation promotes the value of playwork, supports playworkers and advocates for children’s play.  It makes the case for playwork services, helps to develop the playwork approach and provides a representative platform for playwork practitioners.

IPA England is a registered charity, a branch of the International Play Association. IPA’s purpose is to protect, preserve and promote the child’s right to play as a fundamental human right, upholding the right of all children and young people to the opportunity, time and space to play in their own way.

A Manifesto for Play: Policy Proposals for Children’s Play in England

September 20th, 2019 by

Writing to MPs

Play England, the Playwork Foundation and International Play Association [England] are delighted to jointly publish a Manifesto for Play, ahead of any upcoming General Election.

We are asking all members and supporters to write to their Member of Parliament asking MPs to support the Manifesto for Play.

Why write to Members of Parliament?

Members of Parliament and the Government have a vital role in agreeing Policy, Legislation and Investment in children’s play in England.

Writing to your local MP helps to raise the profile of play and reminds policy-makers of the importance of play in children’s lives and the role that they can play in supporting play.

Finding and contacting your MP

You can find out who your MP is and how to contact them by going to:

How to write to your MP

MPs and their researchers tell us that an original letter or email sent by one committed, passionate constituent is far more powerful than a pile of identical letters or postcards.

So it’s best to use your own words and speak from your own knowledge and experience about the importance of play.

Top Tips

  • Be succinct. Try to keep it to one side of A4.
  • Just raise one issue – don’t try to raise lots of different things
  • Include your address – so your MP can reply

How to structure your letter or email

  • Start with a sentence introducing yourself, eg I am a parent living in your constituency or I work for a play service in your constituency.
  • Say why you are writing to them, eg I am writing to ask you to support the policies set out in the Manifesto for Play (attached or enclosed).
  • Say something in your own words about why play is important for children and families. You might want to mention that play helps children build social skills and friendships, or that play is vital for children’s health and wellbeing. You can use the Manifesto for Play for ideas.
  • Include some facts and statistics about play. These might be statistics from your local play service. Or you can find some play facts in the Play builds Children statement.
  • If you run a local play service or organisation, you could invite your MP to visit to see the vital work that play services do.
  • Enclose or attach a copy of the Manifesto for Play.
  • Finish by saying that you would welcome your MP’s support for the policies set out in the Manifesto and ask if they could respond giving their views.

Follow up

Play England would be pleased if you could share your letter and any response from your MP with us by email to

Playwork Qualifications

September 16th, 2019 by

Good news! NCFE CACHE has decided to continue offering the Level 3 Diploma in Playwork (NVQ) (reference no: 501/0997/2) and also the Level 2 Diploma in Playwork (NVQ) (reference no. 500/9047/1) indefinitely. Play England spoke to a staff member at the awarding body recently who confirmed that their database shows an end date of 31 July 2027 for both qualifications, but this is because the system requires a date to be entered. As far as she is concerned, there is no final registration date.

If you wish to embark on a Playwork qualification and need to find a training centre, you can look for one on the NCFE CACHE website at or give them a ring on 0191 239 8000.