Meet the Staff
SWAPA is staffed by trained playworkers who help kids stay safe, and realise their play potential by helping them to create their own play environments. SWAPA's team of playworkers are fun, caring and community champions that have our children's best interests in mind - we couldn't do what we do without them!
Scroll down to learn more about them..
I have over a decade's worth of experience working with children and young people. SWAPA is very dear to me - my mum managed several playgrounds across Hackney and Islington and I grew up in these play spaces, including SWAPA. In 2016, after a stint teaching English abroad, I returned from Spain to join the SWAPA team.
I am a local resident, business owner and vocal community advocate for the importance of play. As Senior Playworker I'm super excited to be re-energising the playground with new structures and play opportunities, and supporting our young people and the larger community as we work through these extraordinary times.
I started working while young, becoming involved in playwork at Laburnum Boat Club and Design and Build (Play).
This gave me valuable experience at a grassroots level, which I have continued to build on during my career, both professionally and personally.
A qualified trainer, forest school leader, youth practitioner, landscaper and multi-trade builder, I'm happiest passing on my knowledge and skills to kids and young people. I can usually be found building play structures or playing with fires at SWAPA.
I am a practicing multi-disciplinary artist and I'm passionate about helping young people learn through creativity. As Deputy, I support the Senior Playworkers by ensuring the playground has efficient systems in place and runs smoothly. I also manage our communications, including newsletters and posts to our social media, often curated by our young people.
I have been working on adventure playgrounds for coming up to 10 years and I enjoy all aspects of the work - from getting messy, doing woodwork with children or with the staff team, advocating for the importance of children's free play in schools, thinking about the theory and practice of Playwork and supporting staff's reflective practice through to health and safety.
You are mostly likely to find me supporting a big game of capture the flag, or making people cringe with my awful 'dad' jokes.
I have been a play and youth worker for more than 10 years. I am also a DJ/Music Producer and have always tried to introduce activities involving music. My aim is to set up a music studio at SWAPA so I can lead music production and DJ workshops, to help with self expression, social confidence as well as math and hand to eye coordination.
As a disabled person I have always had a passion to work with children and young people with and without disabilities.
I have worked across many play organisations in Hackney, including Hackney PLay Association, Hackney Family Backup, The Learning Trust, Evergreen Play Association and the Trinity Centre.
I am creative playworker who enjoys working with children to help explore their ideas through artistic means. I love to watch young children realise their true play potential by helping them make their own ideas come to life.
George Van der Byl
I wanted to become a playworker so I could work during my gap year and while studying at university, joining the team at SWAPA during the summer of 2019. My hobbies include playing and writing music. I enjoy being active with the kids and can easily get lost in a game.
We regularly have positions available for Playworkers, Trustees and Volunteers.
In January 2022 (TBC) we will be recruiting for our Playwork Apprentice Scheme aimed at 16-19 year olds.
Please get in touch if you're interested in any of these positions and we'll get back to you to discuss.