History of the IPA...



While Islington has a reputation as a fashionable place to live and socialise it is, in fact, the 4th poorest Borough in London. It has less open space and fewer parks for children to play in than any other London Borough and most people's homes have no garden.

For several decades the Islington Play Association has been working to improve children's lives and life chances. We recognise that play is not the same as adult leisure - it is vital for children's health and well-being. We believe that the ability of children to play is a litmus test for the quality of life for everyone.

As such, the Islington Play Association was set up by play activists (who included parents, Borough Councillors, voluntary sector management committee members, playworkers and community workers) in 1971. Their aim was to campaign for play facilities and provide a focus for individuals and organisations that wanted to develop play provision in the borough. It became a registered charity in the following year, and established a variety of services to local play providers.

In the late eighties, as the funding climate changed, the Islington Play Association concentrated on persuading the council to maintain funding of the existing play projects.

In 1995/6, the Islington Play Association was restructured and some new services were established. A formal membership was established, and a consultation process led to the adoption of a new mission statement - the Islington Play Association Statement of Purpose. The then Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, the Rt. Hon. Chris Smith MP, formally launched the new Islington Play Association at Islington Town Hall in October 1997.

In September 2000 the Islington Play Association opened its first Children's Centre on the Priory Green Estate near Kings Cross providing a location for an after school club, extended day holiday playschemes and a range of Sure Start services.

In December 2005 the Islington Play Association moved its nursery into a building in Paradise Park and now manages the Paradise Park Children's Centre from that building. The children's centre is a service hub where children under five years old and their families can receive seamless integrated services and information, including integrated early education and childcare, parenting support, child and family health services and support for parents to return to work.

Islington has a dozen adventure playgrounds and a strong indigenous voluntary sector working to help children and families. To this day, the Islington Play Association continues to support the work of voluntary groups and organisations that, in some way or other, help give children the opportunity to play, many of which run imaginative and exciting projects.

See our annual report 2007 for information on some of our achievements over the years: 35 achievements to mark our 35th birthday.



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Islington Play Association | UK Registered Charity No.1086165 | UK Company No. 3989283