Our people

Our staff

Working together like a perfectly oiled swing set (ahem) – London Play’s staff team is small but versatile.

Chrissy Baxter
Adventure playgrounds & resident artist

Chrissy Baxter

Contact details

Email: chrissy@londonplay.org.uk

Position: Adventure playgrounds & resident artist

About Chrissy Baxter

Chrissy started her career in playwork, having cut her teeth in Waltham Forest and then at Markfield. Having then pursued a career in the NHS specialising in autism and outreach work, she returned to her roots to join London Play. Initially working on Play Works II building an online resource to help adventure playgrounds thrive and remain, she is the illustrator and co-games crafter for our ingenious Play 52 cards. Just don’t peel an orange in her vicinity.

INTERESTS

  • Drawing beautiful pictures
  • Camping
  • Food quirkology
Catherine Togut
Play streets & corporate partnerships

Catherine Togut

Contact details

Phone 0203 384 8512

Email: catherine@londonplay.org.uk

Position: Play streets & corporate partnerships

About Catherine Togut

A woman of many talents, Catherine leads on developing our relationships with big-hearted and forward-thinking corporate organisations. She is also chief organiser and inventoriser of nuts and bolts for our popular go kart events. Catherine works on our play street projects and has a real skill for bringing different generations together around play and memories of it.

INTERESTS

  • Outdoor swimming
  • Party organising
  • Shopping for a deal
Fiona Sutherland
Deputy director and head of comms

Fiona Sutherland

Contact details

Email: fiona@londonplay.org.uk

Position: Deputy director and head of comms

About Fiona Sutherland

London Play’s resident wordsmith, chief tweeterer and source of witty one liners, Fiona is the scribe behind our website, Playwire newsletter and other communications and publications.

She is currently working on a new book to rival the legendary Eskimo tome about snow: “1001 ways to say ‘play’. She also job-shares with Catherine to deliver the Playful Communities project.

INTERESTS

  • Cycling adventures
  • Travel
  • Grammar nazi
Paul Hocker
Director and barbeque-er in chief

Paul Hocker

Contact details

Email: paul@londonplay.org.uk

Position: Director and barbeque-er in chief

About Paul Hocker

Leading the London Play team and creative mastermind behind some of our best ideas, Paul’s proposals are irresistible to funders and keep the money coming in to ensure that more of London’s children can play out where they live. And if you want to know anything about play on the street in London, Paul is our very own walking Wikipedia. History? Check. Legislation? Check. Celebs seen anywhere near play streets? Ab-so-lutely.

INTERESTS

  • Lego
  • The Beatles
  • Celeb-spotting
Scheherezade Soodeen
Royal Parks outreach worker

Scheherezade Soodeen

Contact details

Phone 02033848510

Position: Royal Parks outreach worker

About Scheherezade Soodeen

Scheherezade (or Sche for short) is like a human ray of sunshine and nothing seems to phase her! A qualified landscape architect and artist, she originally joined London Play as a play starter on our Play Streets project but can now be found enticing children living around Regents and Greenwich parks into nature with creative and playful activities as our Royal Parks outreach worker.

INTERESTS

  • Landscape architecture
  • Travel
  • Ray of sunshine

Our trustees

Our dedicated team of trustees give their time voluntarily to keep the London Play roundabout spinning.
Fancy joining them? We are always on the lookout for new talent so get in touch.

Melian Mansfield
Chair

Melian Mansfield

Contact details

Email: info@londonplay.org.uk

Position: Chair

About Melian Mansfield

Passion for children’s rights has to be the number one quality needed for leading an organisation like London Play and Melian has it in spades. Chair since 2001, she is a former teacher with wide experience in education from early years to secondary levels, and has written two books. She is a parent of five children and governor of two primary schools as well as serving on numerous boards for children’s organisations.

INTERESTS

  • Children
  • Education
  • Theatre
Barry Walden
Vice chair

Barry Walden

Contact details

Email: info@londonplay.org.uk

Position: Vice chair

About Barry Walden

Barry is by anyone’s definition a London play stalwart. Having begun his play career in Camden council as a summer play worker in 1981,  he retired in 2019, having worked his way up the ranks in the intervening four decades 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 also sat on the Quality in Play Accreditation panel for Play England and worked on the endorsement of Playwork training courses for Skillsactive.

INTERESTS

  • An open road and his VW camper
  • Politics
  • Play
Hal Davidson
Trustee

Hal Davidson

Contact details

Email: info@londonplay.org.uk

Position: Trustee

About Hal Davidson

Hal first got involved with London Play while still a student, through our Play Street project, as an apprentice ‘Play Starter’. In doing so he discovered a new passion and went on to work at White City Adventure Playground. He is now a charity consultant and is always on the lookout for new ways of getting play funded.

INTERESTS

  • Running
  • Running
  • More running
Shalena Haughton-Peters
Trustee

Shalena Haughton-Peters

Contact details

Email: info@londonplay.org.uk

Position: Trustee

About Shalena Haughton-Peters

Shalena joined the London Play board during the pandemic so we have mostly seen her in two dimensions via Zoom so far! She brings a wealth of experience in youth and community work to the table including a decade managing adventure playgrounds. She is currently operational director at Youth First in Lewisham responsible for Youth and Play universal face-to-face services.

INTERESTS

  • Studying & learning new skills
  • Cooking and gardening
  • Volunteering and supporting community work

 

Colin Simmons
Trustee

Colin Simmons

Contact details

Email: info@londonplay.org.uk

Position: Trustee

About Colin Simmons

Colin has seen out many changes in nearly 40 years of working in the London play sector. Working his way up from trainee playworker, he spent 26 years as service manager for play in Kensington and Chelsea council. In 2016 the play service was outsourced, and Colin moved into the charity sector. He now works for P3  play service and Rugby Portobello Trust; and is also the chair of Westway Community Transport and on the board of the Venture Community Association.

INTERESTS

  • Theatre
  • Cinema
  • Music Hall & Variety

 

Dr Keith Cranwell
Trustee

Dr Keith Cranwell

Contact details

Email: info@londonplay.org.uk

Position: Trustee

About Dr Keith Cranwell

The voice of academia on the London Play board, Keith previously headed up the Department of Education and Community Studies at Greenwich University. His interests lie in education for playwork and he developed the BA in Playwork and Youth Studies with the University of East London. A Londoner from birth, Keith has a fervent commitment to improving understanding and provision of children’s play in an urban environment.

INTERESTS

  • Test cricket
  • History
  • Analog devices 🙂

 

Caroline Needham
Trustee

Caroline Needham

Contact details

Email: info@londonplay.org.uk

Position: Trustee

About Caroline Needham

Play is not just for children! Bringing a valuable intergenerational perspective to the mix, Caroline is a founding member of the London Intergenerational Network and London development manager for the Grandparent’s Association. She has an MSc in Life Course Development and was social policy manager at Help the Aged until 2009. She served as Labour Councillor for the Askew ward in Hammersmith and Fulham until 2019.

INTERESTS

  • Intergenerational work
  • Grandchildren
  • Chunky jewellery
Madoc Thriepland
Trustee

Madoc Thriepland

Contact details

Email: info@londonplay.org.uk

Position: Trustee

About Madoc Thriepland

Like Shalena, Madoc joined the trustee board mid-pandemic and has only met the rest of the group on screen! He runs an urban adventure company for adults in London (kayaking up the Thames anyone?) but prior to this spent many years as a youth worker in organisations including Raleigh International, The National Citizen Service and Kids Company.

 

INTERESTS

  • Adventure
  • Outdoors
Nicholas Hall
Trustee

Nicholas Hall

Contact details

Email: info@londonplay.org.uk

Position: Trustee

About Nicholas Hall

Play occupies a place in landscapes both literal and political, and as former local authority landscape architect, Nicholas brings both perspectives to London Play. He pinpoints his work at Haringey council in the 80s, where he lead the landscape design team, as sparking a particular interest in play. Having retired in 2011, Nicholas joined the trustee team in 2012 in time to witness a few landscape changes of our own. He is a professional member of Learning Through Landscapes.

INTERESTS

  • Rambling (in the outdoor sense!)
  • Health and safety
  • Fine chocolate

And you? Join us.

We'd love you to join us as a member or a supporter of London Play. There are some great benefits and you will also be helping us make a stronger case for play in London to funders and decision makers.

FIND A PLACE TO PLAY

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