Chair of Trustees
Lynne Smith has a wealth of playwork experience including facilitating a successful community playscheme for many years.
A significant theme running throughout Brian’s life has been the importance of PLAYING both for him and those with whom he has worked and who share his life. He has two children and two granddaughters aged 21 years and 18 years. His daughter, son and grandchildren are all great players!
Brian believes that the complex society we now live in subtly coerces children to forget about being a child. They are constantly cajoled, coerced and encouraged to ‘grow up’ and become adults. He suggests that this process strips from children their identity as ‘players’ which, in turn contributes to the dilution, fragmentation and disappearance of their childhoods. The dangers inherent in this process are clear to see. To help us challenge these dangers Brian suggests that our society requires more people to advocate for play in children’ lives and beyond their childhood. This is why in 1989, (in the former Leeds Polytechnic, now Leeds Metropolitan University) he introduced the very first Playwork degree to be delivered in a Higher Education setting in the UK, and probably the world! That course still exists and because of it the University continues to have grown up ‘players’ run around inside its institutional head.
Brian wants people to recognise that as adults we all share one thing in common. This common feature is that we have ALL been children and have ALL experienced a childhood. We may have experienced different childhoods but we should know, remember and celebrate what it was and is to be a child and experience the excitement of playing.
Brian spent twenty four years teaching and lecturing at Leeds Metropolitan University (Formerly Leeds Polytechnic). He retired from his post as Principal lecturer in September 2006. Until 2008 he was a Visiting Fellow at Leeds Metropolitan University. Until recently he has worked as a play consultant for a variety of local authorities. He has also completed a broad range of consultancy work for Play England, significantly helping to rewrite the Charter for Children’ Play. Until January 2011 he continued to be involved in work relating to children and their playing.
He now spends his time living between France and England enjoying the fruits of his labour by making cider!
Prior to his teaching and lecturing career Brian had been a Senior social worker and mental health officer for 15 years specialising in work with young people, young offenders, children and their families. His last post in social work (1980) was working as an Intermediate Treatment Officer with young offenders and vulnerable children and young people.
On leaving school aged 15 Brian had a brief love affair with professional football. It turned out to be a one sided relationship! He decided to pursue a career in farming. This became a long holiday but the days were equally long. He gave that up to become an overhead lineman with the Southern Electricity Board. His social work career commenced through volunteering for the Mentally Handicapped Society in 1966. But playing has been the river that has continued to run through his life. He hopes that river will continue to flow.
Dr. Fraser Brown is Professor of Playwork at Leeds Metropolitan University, and principal lecturer on the BA (Hons) Playwork degree. For ten years he was Director of the playwork training agency Children First, and previously held advisory posts with Playboard and the National Playing Fields Association. He spent three years as a playworker on an adventure playground in Runcorn, and managed a range of projects for the North West Play Association. For two years he was District Leisure Officer in Middlesbrough. His publications include Foundations of Playwork (2008); The Venture: a Case Study of an Adventure Playground (2007); Children Without Play (2005); Playwork: Theory and Practice (2003); School Playgrounds (1990) and Working Together: a Playwork Training Pack (1989). He was also a major contributor to Perspectives on Play (2009); and Childhood: Services and Provision for Children (2007). He has spoken throughout the UK and around the world about his research into the effects of therapeutic playwork on a group of abandoned children in Romania. He is the Chair and Co-Founder of the Aid for Romanian Children charitable trust, and a member of the International Advisory Board of the Romanian Association of Play Therapy and Drama Therapy.
Stephen Hunter – I am recently retired from the post of Technical Services Manager in the Faculty of Biological Sciences at Leeds University. I have also held the post of School Governor at a local high school. I have financial, HR, health and safety, contracting, scientific skills and experience.
Carol Davison – Before retiring in 2010, Carol was a Technical Services Manager in Biological Sciences at the University of Leeds. Over her 20 years as a manager her role encompassed finance, grant management, HR and staff development, health and safety and building management and it is this wide experience she brings to LPN. However, when her own children were small she realised the value of play in the development, health and happiness of children and, as well as helping to set up and run Mother and Toddler Groups and Playgroups she was an active member of Preschool Playgroup Association. She was one of 3 volunteers who set up and ran a Local Authority sponsored playgroup, on the Woodchurch Estate in Birkenhead, providing play opportunities for pre-school children who had limited opportunities to play at home. The success of this project led to it becoming a full time playgroup with a professional team of trained play leaders.
Carol finds it rewarding that her role as trustee allows her to use her workplace skills for the benefit of an organisation that reflects her earlier commitment to the value of play.