We want to give them more chances to play outside their homes


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We campaign to prevent the loss of playable space


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We promote quality and choice in play provision


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Play is a fun way to be active

We work to increase opportunities for children to play


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Our trustees

We haven’t totted up how many years of experience of play, children’s rights, politics, environmental issues and more that our trustees have between them but it amounts to more than a few lifetimes!  They are a great hard working bunch but we are always on the lookout for new blood, so if you think you might be interested in joining their ranks, please get in touch. 

Melian Mansfield, chair

Passion for children’s rights has to be the number one quality needed for leading an organisation like London Play and Melian has it in spades. Chair of London Play since 2001, she is a former teacher with wide experience in education from early years to secondary levels, and has written two books. She is a parent of five children and governor of two primary schools as well as serving on numerous boards for children’s organisations. 

Barry Walden, deputy chair

Barry is by anyone’s definition a London play stalwart. Having begun his play career in Camden council as a summer play worker in 1981, more than 30 years later he is still there, having worked his way up the ranks to become Commissioning Manager for Children's Services; including play.  He has ‘seen it all’, working at all levels of play in times of feast and famine and via various political swings and roundabouts. Barry also sat on the Quality in Play Accreditation panel for Play England and worked on the endorsement of Playwork training courses for Skillsactive.

Caroline Needham

Play is not just for children! Bringing a welcome intergenerational perspective to the mix, Caroline is a founding member of the London Intergenerational Network and London development manager for the Grandparent’s Association. She has an MSc in Life Course Development and was social policy manager at Help the Aged until 2009. Currently she is the Labour Councillor for the Askew ward in Hammersmith and Fulham and serves as chair of the Children and Education Policy and Accountability Committee.

Colin Simmons

Colin is another who has seen out many changes to play in nearly 40 years of working in the London play sector. Working his way up from trainee playworker, he spent 26 years as service manager for play in Kensington and Chelsea. In 2016 the play service was outsourced, and Colin moved into the charity sector - working for P3 and the Hammersmith and Fulham Play Association. 

Dr Keith Cranwell

The voice of academia on the London Play board, Keith previously headed up the Department of Education and Community Studies at Greenwich University. His interests lie in education for playwork and he developed the BA in Playwork and Youth Studies with the University of East London.  A Londoner from birth, Keith has a fervent commitment to improving understanding and provision of children’s play in an urban environment.

Nicholas Hall

Play occupies a place in landscapes both literal and political, and as former local authority landscape architect, Nicholas brings both perspectives to London Play. He pinpoints his work at Haringey council in the 80s, where he lead the landscape design team, as sparking a particular interest in play. Having retired in 2011, Nicholas joined the trustee team in 2012 in time to witness a few landscape changes of our own. He is a life member of both The Ramblers and National Trust for Scotland and a professional member of Learning Through Landscapes.


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