The 13th National Playwork Conference

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SkillsActive was represented at the 13th National Playwork Conference on 3-4 March by Hanna Boyce, Professional Development Manager, and Jonathan Campbell-Jones from the SkillsActive Registers team:

We arrived to a wet and breezy Eastbourne morning, which soon transformed into the sunshine promised for the next two days.  Exhibition space sorted, we spent the first day chatting to some of the 300+ playwork participants about SkillsActive, the importance of endorsement, quality assured endorsed training, and the Register of Professional Playworkers, gaining some new members and receiving welcome feedback from existing members.  The range of workshops on offer and their timings ensured a steady flow past our stand throughout the day, and our Register yo-yos proved particularly popular!

Meynell Games is one of SkillsActive’s Endorsed Providers and everyone attending the conference was awarded 3 CPD points, which register members are able to record against their CPD commitment.

The evening Gala Dinner provided a night of entertainment second to none – live music, magicians, jugglers, and some playful audience participation contributed to a really entertaining evening.  A highlight of the evening was the 6th National Playwork Awards which, having started out as simply a nice way to give representatives from the sector a pat on the back, have now proved prestigious enough to add weight to business initiatives.  With Meynell entertaining us as compere with sometimes thought provoking but often amusing speeches interspersing the awards, the recipients were enthusiastically congratulated by the audience.

SkillsActive is proud to sponsor the Paul Bonel Memorial Award, dedicated to the memory of its namesake, who headed the playwork team at SkillsActive for many years and sadly passed away in 2010.  Hanna was invited to take part in the judging panel, and was delighted to be asked to present the award.  The recipient was Darren ‘Coco’ Roberts, a play and youth worker at the Venture Adventure Playground in Wrexham, Wales, who was tragically killed in a car accident just before Christmas. Congratulations to all the recipients, and also to the other nominees.

The rest of the evening was spent on the dance floor, which was impressively packed for the remainder of the evening!

Day 2 was another bright and cheerful day, and despite the late night the level of enthusiasm remained high, and the playful atmosphere carried on until pack up time in the afternoon.

Thanks to all the delegates we met during our two days, it was a great chance to talk to you and we look forward to working with you towards endorsement.

Thanks also to our fellow exhibitors, the Out of School Alliance, for giving us the opportunity to play with their lollypop catapults, which jettisoned coloured ping-pong balls across the room at unexpected moments!  Also, major thanks to Meynell for putting on another fantastic conference, and we look forward to returning next year!

To keep up to date on news of the 14th National Playwork Conference, visit the website here.

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