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Dobson praises play work

Posted on Wednesday, October 31, 2001

Addressing the Association of Playworkers’ Conference in the middle of what must be “the best childrens’ playground in the world” Compers Field in Camden where Frank Dobson MP has been a Management Committee chair for 22 years, the former Health Secretary exemplified the importance of play work and youth work by reference to his own children and those of his local community. No adult of course can enter Compers Field unless accompanied by a child.

“The media” said Frank, “with its drivel for kids” turns 11 year olds into 17 year olds without living the bit in between. If the most powerful forms of communication ever known let you down you need services that introduce reality and social interaction for the enjoyment of childhood. I am trying to spread the idea that there need to be more places and spaces, especially in inner city areas utterly dedicated to children, not to be pokey add ons to other amenities, but purpose built for children. At this amenity we have based our development on the fact that children appreciate good quality, not just in terms of the workers who work with them, but in terms of their equipment and facilities. What is good for the toffs is essential for our kids.”

Frank went on to sing the praises of currently non statutory services like play and youth work and pledged his continuing support to win statutory provision and improved terms and conditions within the sector. He also criticised the invention of new systems in the place of established work. “Don’t reward those who do it for the first time at the expense of those who have been doing it for a long time” he said.

“I recently spoke at the funerals of two youth workers who transformed my sons life and I have resolved to go and see one of those still living to thank him before the funeral for all that the Youth Service has done !” he added.

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