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.
Anita Grant is Play England’s Chair of Trustees. 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.
After a decade in Community Arts, Beth Cooper undertook a Playwork Degree. After a decade playing in all manner of ways with many different people Playwork should not have been such a revelation. It was. Mentored by the wonderful Professor Perry Else, Beth developed her understanding of the value of space to play. Since then she has stayed focussed on delivering valuable and effective spaces for play as a Council Officer and more recently for Timberplay.
Simon Fagg is a Chartered Landscape Architect, working for Leeds City Council, with significant experience of designing landscapes for play. He was heavily involved in Rotherham’s Play Pathfinder programme, while Senior Landscape Architect at Groundwork Dearne Valley. Between 2011 and 2014 Simon delivered a Big Lottery Funded project for Sheffield Wildlife Trust, as Living with Nature Co-ordinator. This exciting project combined improving play sites for both their play value and biodiversity and combined ecologically sensitive, playful design with extensive community engagement.
As a parent, Rose Gledhill is a keen supporter of play for children and youngsters. Her Saturday Parkruns bring back fond memories of picnics and kite flying in her local Harrow park. Rose is a human resources professional and executive coach who builds relationships with stakeholders at all levels to foster best practice and inclusivity. She has a combination of commercial and not-for-profit experience driving strategic change and building a climate of excellent communication and engagement.
Lesli Godfrey is a recently retired senior lecturer in Playwork at Leeds Beckett University. She 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.
Keith Rogers is the Play Service Manager for Dudley council. His main focus at work is managing Sycamore Adventure Playground. Over the past nine years he has been involved in the design, build, development and delivery of the adventure playground and play service. He has supported the service to bridge the gap between being fully funded to being required to generate 70% of its income and has supported Sycamore Adventure to gain six national awards in recognition of the service provided. Keith has a background in playwork and advocacy for disabled children and has previously managed services at national charities KIDS and MENCAP.
Panash Shah runs Cambridge Kids Club, a Cambridgeshire focused provider of Out of School settings and supplementary services. He has previously been a Management Consultant with the big-4 and has a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Cambridge, Judge Business School. He has a strong skill set in areas of commercial and non-commercial enterprises and was previously an executive trustee for a national faith-based charity.
Libby Truscott manages Shoreditch Adventure Playground. She was amongst the playworkers who led the award-winning Save Watford’s Adventure Playgrounds (SWAP) campaign. She studied Playwork at the University of Gloucestershire..
Head of Play Services at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust, Laura Walsh also has over 14 years experience in the field of play and physical activity for children and young people from her time at Central YMCA in Central London. She has an MA in Children and Play from University of Gloucestershire and continues to volunteer in Frontline delivery with children and young people. Laura brings experience of service and organisational development, stakeholder engagement and planning for play provision.
Since 2007, Kirsty Wilson 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.