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About Playskill

Specialist Playgroup for Children with Physical Needs

Playskill is a local charity that runs parent and child term-time groups for pre-school children with special physical needs. 

Groups are run by a skilled team, including a Paediatric Physiotherapist, Occupational Therapist and Speech and Language Therapist.

We are based in Watford and Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, and welcome interest from all local areas, including Three Rivers, Dacorum, St. Albans and Bushey.  If you are local, but outside of these areas, please do contact to confirm whether you are within our radius.

Playskill is free to families (siblings always welcome to come along too) all we ask is a donation towards our refreshments if you are able.

We take children aged between 1 and 5 years however we do have a waiting list, so please contact us as soon as possible.

Contact Us
Onefamily

Our newest group in action.

We have:
  • demonstrated excellent results with children and families, 
  • consistently met or exceeded our targets and outcomes, 
  • gained an enviable reputation for our methods and work
  •  received various local, regional and national awards, including coming close third in the National Lottery Awards “Best Education” category in 2013, and our Director (who also worked part-time for the NHS) receiving the NHS Patient Champion of the Year Award in 2014 for “a person or team who has involved patients, the public and service users in the design and development of services, and has made a noticeable impact on the way the organisation engages with patients”, and the High Sheriff of Hertfordshire’s Award in March 2015 for Services to the Community, and being nominated in April 2015 for ProAction’s Member of the Year award for working with children and young people across Hertfordshire, and awarded the Audientior Award for best charity in September 2015 for Watford.
Support our work

Playskill relies on grants and donations in order to keep our valuable and much needed services running. Please make a donation today to support our work. Thank you.

Make donation

Audentior Awards 2015

Some results from a recent survey of all our families
key measurement for each siteWatfordGarstonHemel
SMART targets achieved:89%92%90.5%
Parents completely satisfied with their child’s improvement73.3%87.5%70.5%
Parents completely satisfied with relevance of goals set for their child80%75%75%
Parents with increased confidence in supporting their children100%100%94.1%

Summer 2017

Our Trustees

Approved
Judith Cansdale
Biography:

Judy qualified as a SRN at The Middlesex Hospital and after a career break worked until retirement at Mount Vernon Hospital. She is married with three children and eleven grandchildren. Judy has been involved in a variety of voluntary of positions including running a Toddler Club, Guide company and as a school governor. She has family reasons for being committed to the work of Playskill.

Approved
Kelly Harris
Biography:

HR Trustee
Kelly is a U.K. qualified Solicitor and currently works as Legal and Social Impact Director for an Insurance Provider. She is mum to 5 year old twins Alexander and Scarlett, and wife to Bobby. Scarlett has Downs Syndrome and Kelly heard about Playskill’s work from other parents and from her own experience and that of others is very aware of the essential role it plays in providing support to both children and their parents.
Her background in personnel management and employment will bring invaluable experience to the Playskill management and trustee team.

Approved
Charlotte Kohnhorst
Biography:

Charlotte lives in Chorleywood with her husband who works in Finance. They have three grown-up children.
Charlotte started her working life in Primary Schools in London and Amsterdam. After a break to have their children she returned to teaching and spent 12 years in a primary school teaching across a wide range of subjects.
She qualified in November ’15, after a 2 yr. course, in teaching children with specific learning difficulties within a normal school framework.
Charlotte is now Self – Employed and runs her own Company which assesses Children’s specific learning difficulties from Primary School through to University.
As a Trustee in PLAYSKILL she will benefit the Charity with her experience and skills in general education, and especially her expertise with children with specific learning difficulties.

Approved
Andrew Lovelace
Biography:

Finance Trustee, ACMA, MBA (Wharton), BSc Maths (Exon) Andrew is a Chartered Management Accountant with over 25 years of experience. More recently, he has occupied senior finance positions in a number of large multinational companies. In his last role Andrew held the position of Vice President of Finance at Schneider Electric, a 25Bn Euro Technology Business. His various roles have seen him travel widely with his family including 4 years in France and 9 years in the US. Andrew has now started up his own Property & Technology Business and is looking forwards to an exciting few years as he grows his business. He is married to Ruth who works as a practice nurse and they have three children all at various stages in their education.

Approved
Chris Neale
Biography:

Information Tech Trustee. BSc Physics and Maths . Chris is an independent IT consultant with over twenty five years of experience in the IT industry. He started and ran for some fifteen years a successful London based IT services and hosting business from which he took a back seat when his additional needs son Francis was born some three years ago. He came into contact with Playskill as a parent needing their expertise and help which did help Francis enormously. He has been happily married to Agnieszka for thirteen years.

Approved
Chris Paskin
Biography:

Treasurer Trustee. Chris works as the Finance Manager for Soul Survivor Watford church. He is a part qualified charity accountant with CIPFA.
Chris has worked for Soul Survivor Watford for 14 years, 5 as Buildings Manager then as Finance Manager.
He also has a 9year old son with joint hyper mobility syndrome.

Approved
Chris Raby
Biography:

Child Protection Trustee.
Chris is a registered nurse: she qualified as a RGN in 1978 and as a RSCN in 1994. She has spent most of her professional career working with sick children in the NHS where she held two senior nursing positions. She managed a range of children’s services for a local Mencap society from January 2002 until July 2007

Approved
Lucy Sharpe
Biography:

Secretary Trustee. Lucy qualified as a Physiotherapist in 2004 and. specialised in Children’s physiotherapy in 2007. She took a role Community Paediatric in 2009, working across schools, paediatric wards and outpatient clinics. Since then she has specialised in the management of preschool children and babies born preterm. Lucy is married and has two young boys. Lucy see the huge importance of Playskill's work in both her capacity as a health professional and as a parent.

Approved
Stuart Soloway
Biography:

Chair Trustee. I have been married for 42 years with 2 grown up Children and live in Ruislip. Our sons are both married, the elder has just returned from a 3 year posting in Hong Kong with his wife and their son and daughter. Our younger son married his wife 3 years ago and now lives in Boston [USA], with their 2 year old son and recently added twin daughters.
Our younger son was born with C P, and attended Mother and Baby classes at the Le Marie Centre Watford where my wife and I were active members of their Parents Association.
I spent my Business career working for large PLCs , working for Retailers such as MAC MARKETS, INTERNATIONAL STORES, and FINE FARE in the Supermarket industry. I then moved into Fashion Retailing as a Director of BURTONS and then NEXT followed by Entertainment Retailing as M.D. of WARNER BROS. Studio Stores.
I was introduced to Andrea and was hugely impressed by her work in forming and growing PLAYSKILL. I could easily identify and see the gap which PLAYSKILL fills for Parents and their Children.
My wife and I have always been Active in Community activities, and I am also a Trustee of The Bobath Centre in Finchley.
I am committed to the continuous improvement of the services PLAYSKILL offers to the Children and their Parents.

Director
Approved
Andrea Clarke
Biography:

Andrea Clarke M.C.S.P. B.Phys (Hons) - Playskill Director.
Andrea began work as a qualified physiotherapist for the NHS in 1994 and specialised in paediatrics in 1996. She worked up to a senior level in the NHS and in 2001 became a private practitioner and worked as a consultant for the national charity, Whizz-Kidz. In 2004 she also became the lead physiotherapist for the PACE centre in Aylesbury (a charity for children with physical disabilities) and worked there as a Consultant Physiotherapist until February 2009. Andrea established the Playskill pilot project in 2006. She continues to work as a Private Practitioner and has been working for the NHS since February 2009 leading a new service Transitioning Teenagers with Physical Disabilities to Adult Services in Middlesex.

Parent's representatives to the Trustees
Approved
Amanda Farrant
Approved
Dina Corcoran
Approved
Nisha Soni