IPA England Committee

We are a group of play and playwork activists. Our current committee members are:


MeynellMeynell is a playworker, playwork trainer / lecturer, and playwork advocate. He has been working with children and young people in various capacities for 46 years. An MPhil and qualifications in teaching, youth work, playwork and expertise in early years has given him a very clear understanding of the role of play and its importance in the everyday lives of children. He travels extensively across the globe to discuss play and playwork both with face-to-face workers and academics. He is still a frontline playworker as well as an academic, and his role as bookseller enables him to be one of the most well-read in the sector.

Chair – Meynell Walter

AnaAna has been a very happy playworker for the past 12 years, in many different settings across Europe. She works in Leeds, managing a city-wide play support service. Ana is particularly passionate about play environments, inclusivity and play in humanitarian crises. She also plans to take Playwork to ‘unexplored’ territories around the world. First stop was at a refugee camp in France; then, Istanbul, delivering a creative play workshop for refugee children. Ana’s latest adventure was in Uganda, where she helped build a playground for over 300 children. Currently, she is quietly planning her next international play endeavour.

Treasurer – Ana Ardelean

rptPaul has been an active member of IPA for a numbers of years now. He started his career working across different youth work settings and then moved on to work for 15 years on Adventure Playgrounds. After training as a social worker he went on to work in a number of different roles within the voluntary sector, most recently as Deputy Chief Executive of Contact a Family. Paul’s entire career has been focussed on working with families who have children and young people with additional needs and disabilities. He is currently Chair of the Lady Allen Trust. He was awarded an OBE in 2017 for his services to children and families. He is co-author (with Allan Sutherland) of ‘Adventure Play with Handicapped Children (Human Horizons)’

Secretary – Paul Soames

Executive Committee members:

barryBarry is by anyone’s definition a 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 is Vice Chair of Trustees at London Play and a Director of London Play Design, a community interest company (CIC) whose beneficiaries are London Play and small play related charities. Barry also sat on the Quality in Play Accreditation panel for Play England and worked on the endorsement of Playwork training courses for SkillsActive.

Barry Walden

IMG_8591 copyChris is a playworker, writer/researcher, and playwork activist. He is currently engaged in a PhD, examining interactions between children and mobile digital technology in outdoor play. He is a Postgraduate Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and has published and delivered academic and professional papers in the UK and internationally. He also works face-to-face at Tiverton Adventure Playground. Chris was the main writer and project lead for the UK Play and Playwork Education and Skills Strategy 2011-2016; facilitated the All Party Parliamentary Group on Play, and was National Playwork Convenor for the Community, Youth and Playworker’s Section of Unite the Union.

Chris Martin

IMG_1313Jackie is a Play Consultant working in the North East of England. She has over 30 years of experience in the play, youth work, early years and community sectors underpinned by a commitment to collaborative and partnership working. Jackie is passionate about securing children’s right to play in schools, parks and the community and is a champion for outdoor play. She is proud to have written and managed one of the UK’s few Higher Education programmes for playwork. With a lifelong love of travel, Jackie is always on the look-out for opportunities to combine this with her passion for play. Therefore, she is always open to opportunities for the international exchange of good practice either by visiting or by hosting others.

Jackie Boldon

DSCF0480 2Jess has 51 years’ experience in play and playwork, and has been involved in many  training and advisory roles, including training experience with the London Adventure Playground Association, managing Islington Council’s Play and Recreation Department and Hackney Play Association’s Play Training Unit. He has been a Trustee of adventure playgrounds, a school governor and Chair of the Halabja Community Play Project, building an adventure playground in Iraq .

In 2012 Jess was awarded the “Lifetime in Play in London’ award. He still works on adventure play sites and schools, helping people understand the importance of play in children and young people’s lives.

Jess Milne

image004Laura is Head of Play Services at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust. She obtained over 14 years’ experience in the field of play and physical activity for children and young people at the Central YMCA in Central London. She achieved an MA in Children and Play from the University of Gloucestershire in 2016 and continues to volunteer in frontline delivery with children and young people. Laura brings experience of service delivery, organisational development, stakeholder engagement and planning for play.

Laura Walsh

IMG_9809Libby 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.

Libby Truscott

RobRob has worked in children’s play since 1971.  He was an adventure playground worker in Birmingham, a field officer for Belfast Adventure Playgrounds, and a regional play adviser for 2 national charities. One of the country’s leading children’s play consultants and most experienced playground inspector, he is now Director of the Children’s Play Advisory Service.  Additionally he is a leading researcher, by observation and consultation, of children’s freedom to play. Published work includes:

  • Child’s Play: Facilitating play on housing estates (with Dr Alison Millward) (1997) pub. CIH & Joseph Rowntree Foundation
  • Can Play Will Play – disabled children’s access to playgrounds (with Alison John) (2004) pub. NPFA
  • Most Play Strategies are Wrong (Conference paper) based on research in Cardiff

Rob Wheway