Play England director Catherine Prisk steps down

Derren Hayes
Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Catherine Prisk is to step down as director of Play England at the end of the week after a restructure of management arrangements at the charity.

Catherine Prisk has been director at Play England for more than two years. Image: Lucie Carlier
Catherine Prisk has been director at Play England for more than two years. Image: Lucie Carlier

Prisk, who has worked at Play England for five years, put herself forward for redundancy after the campaigning organisation was unable to secure more grants for strategic work.

The independent charity will now be led by Andy Grout, chair of trustees at Play England and also chief executive at Milton Keynes Play Association. Steven Chown has moved to Play England from the National Children's Bureau (NCB) to become programme development manager.

Speaking to CYP Now on Tuesday, Prisk said: "Play England will be taking over leadership of the charity.

"We became a charity last year but were not successful in getting more grants. It is tough for funding strategic programmes and the world is a challenging place for charities at the moment.

"It was with regret that I had to recommend myself being made redundant.

"It's been fantastic and a huge privilege to work at Play England. I will miss it a lot and will continue to support the chair, Andy Grout who I know will continue the fight for freedom to play.

"The massive increase in interest and support for play outdoors is most certainly in part due to the hard work of the teams over the last eight years changing the way communities view playgrounds, risk, volunteering and play in the street."

Prisk – who has been a vocal critic of government cuts to play services funding – is launching her own social enterprise next week called Outdoor People which will aim to encourage children, young people and families to spend more time playing outdoors.

She has also secured consultancy work with Hackney Council and plans to run a market stall in London selling outdoor leisure equipment.

Prisk led Play England in working with the Cabinet Office to get more than 100,000 people involved in helping children play outside, investing in community organisations across England and campaigning for greater investment and support for freedom to play through both the Playday and Love Outdoor Play campaigns.

Play England was hosted by the NCB before gaining limited company status in 2012 and becoming an independent charity last year. 

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