News Archive


Posted on Friday, February 08, 2002

The Association of Playworkers was born as a result of a nationwide survey in 1999, and led to playworkers from all over the country coming together for their first conference to discuss the aims of an organisation to represent them.

The overwhelming consensus was for their organisation to be run by and for them to work to improve the pay and conditions, and to promote the status of playwork as a profession. In 2001 the APW decided to work towards a campaign to improve the working lives of playworkers, and started work on a national research project to establish current levels of pay and conditions across all sectors.

The executive, comprising both face to face playworkers and development workers, looked at all the options, from remaining as a professional body to setting up their own union. After discussions with a range of unions, the one who showed the most support and the one whose members’ values are closest to Playwork values was found to be the Community and Youth Workers Union.

At their autumn conference in 2001, CYWU General Secretary Doug Nicholls (followed by Frank Dobson MP) addressed the playworkers gathered from up and down England. Apart from Play Officers employed by councils, it soon became apparent that most playworkers had had very few dealings with trade unions, and suffered from poor pay and conditions in silence, while facing increasing amounts of paperwork, training requirements, and responsibility to adhere to ever more stringent regulations. Many are finding better pay and lower stress in other fields and are leaving the profession, as shown by the problems many EYDCPs are having with recruitment and retention.

The conference ended with a firm direction for the executive to further talks with the CYWU, which has culminated in over 80% of the Association’s members voting for the APW to join the CYWU. This promises to be a momentous step for Playworkers, and allied with the playwork motions passed at this year’s conference, will create the first step for playworkers to be valued as they deserve.

Details of the playwork conferences are in Rapport, spread the word and let’s keep the ball rolling.

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