Sign up to receive regular updates about children’s play and playwork

Communication Preferences

Please state how you would prefer to be contacted.
To view our privacy policy, click here.

Play Wales is a registered charity and a company registered in Wales.

We have a Board of Trustees that oversees the running of Play Wales to ensure that we meet our objectives effectively and efficiently within the law.  There are also a number of Observers to the Board who support the Trustees but who cannot vote.

Our Trustees are elected by our membership or co-opted so as to represent an area of expertise.

We also have a number of advisory groups that support and monitor particular areas of our work so that we know we are doing the best possible job in advocating for children's play and playwork.

Play Wales Board of Trustees

Our work is governed by a board of trustees and observers. 


Dr Rhian Barrance

Rhian is a Research Associate at the Wales Institute for Social and Economic Research Data and Methods (WISERD), part of the School of Social Sciences at Cardiff University. She is currently working on a WISERD Education research project, a large-scale longitudinal cohort study which has been surveying pupils across Wales on aspects of their lives and education over the last seven years.

She completed her PhD at the Centre for Children’s Rights at Queen’s University Belfast. Since joining Cardiff University, she has completed two projects for the Children's Commissioner for Wales, including an evidence review on the human rights of children in Wales.  


Anne Crowley

Anne Crowley is a policy and research consultant and an Honorary Fellow at Cardiff University where she has recently completed a PhD on the impact of children’s participation on policy-making. From 1999–2009 Anne worked as the Assistant Director (Policy and Research) with Save the Children in Wales. Prior to becoming involved in policy and research, Anne worked with marginalised young people as a social worker and probation officer.


Malcolm King OBE - The Venture 

Malcolm has played a leading role both professionally and politically developing services and policies for children, young people and families locally and nationally for over 30 years. He has been the Manager of The Venture adventure playground in Wrexham since 1984. Malcolm was elected in 1989 to serve as Clwyd County Councillor for Caia Park and soon became chair of the Social Services Committee introducing many reforms. Since 1996 for various periods he has been leader of Wrexham Council, chair of its Policy and Resources Committee, and Executive Board member.

Since 2000 Malcolm has played a leading role within the Association of Policy Authorities (APA). He led the APA’s contribution to developing neighbourhood policing since 2001. In more recent years he has led the policy response to the Children Act, developing policies on child protection and youth crime. Malcolm was also a Play Wales Trustee for ten years between 2003 and 2013. 


Professor Ronan Lyons – University of Wales Swansea

Ronan graduated in medicine from Trinity College, Dublin in 1983 and after a number of years of hospital medicine specialised in public health and epidemiology. He moved to Wales in 1993 and held a number of public health physician and emergency department posts before entering academia. He is currently Professor of Public Health at Swansea University and an honorary consultant with Public Health Wales NHS Trust.

He is involved with numerous local, national and international observational and interventional studies, particularly in the fields of injury prevention and control, child health and health improvement, many of which are supported by his developments in population-wide record linkage. He holds a number of UK research positions, including Director of the Centre for the Improvement of Population Health through E-health Research (CIPHER) and Co-Director of the UKCRC funded DECIPHer Public Health Research Centre of Excellence. 


Dr Mike Shooter CBE (Chair) - Consultant Psychiatrist (retired) 

Mike Shooter came to medicine via a history and law degree, journalism, teaching and a host of other jobs. As a Consultant Psychiatrist, he worked with children and families in Cardiff and the Valleys for over 30 years. Mike is a former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, having previously been it’s Registrar and Director of Public Education. In clinical retirement he has chaired or been a trustee of many third-sector organisations, including Children in Wales, the Mental Health Foundation, Young Minds and the Samaritans.

Mike is married to an ex primary school Headteacher and Magistrate, with four children and eight grandchildren. He is currently knocking into shape a five-acre garden half way up a mountain and writing down-and-dirty crime thrillers set in South Wales, and has not quite given up hope of playing centre-forward for Derby County!


Keith Towler

Keith was the Children’s Commissioner for Wales (2008 – 2015) and is currently an Independent Consultant. He is a respected children’s rights expert with over 30 years’ experience in social work, youth work and youth justice roles. As the country’s second children's commissioner, he published a number of reports including those on play, advocacy, child protection, child trafficking, young carers, disabled children and young people and looked after children.

Keith was a member of the Welsh Government’s National Children’s Safeguarding Forum and a panel member of the Family Justice Review – an independent review commissioned by the Ministry of Justice, Department of Education and the Welsh Government – where he represented children’s interests. Keith was a member of the International Play Association (IPA) Working Group that was asked by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child to take a lead role in helping to draft the General Comment on Article 31.


Dr Jacky Tyrie

Jacky is a researcher and lecturer of Early Childhood Studies at Swansea University. Jacky has worked for 10 years as Higher Education lecturer, with posts in Cardiff Metropolitan University and Swansea University. Her interest is in early childhood from sociological and geographical perspective and focus on research around international childhoods, play and children’s participation rights. Jacky is an expert and national leader in children’s rights and co-ordinates the Children’s Rights in Early Years (CREY) Network. She has published articles in the following journals The International Journal of Children’s Rights, The British Journal of Sociology and the Wales Journal of Education.


Elspeth Webb

Elspeth grew up on a hill farm in north Wales and is a Professor of Paediatrics and Child Health. Her consultant career was as an academic paediatrician in Cardiff University from which she retired in 2015. Elspeth holds an Honorary Chair in the School of Social Sciences at Cardiff University and works on an honorary basis for the university and the health board, teaching and working clinically.

Elspeth has authored over 50 publications, including papers on autism, ADHD, refugee health, race and health, domestic abuse, child abuse and children’s rights. She has a long-standing commitment to children’s rights having served on the first Welsh Children’s Commissioner’s advisory group, and was a member of the UNCRC Welsh Monitoring Committee for over 10 years. She is married to a fellow member of the Cardiff Polyphonic Choir, has two daughters and enjoys walking and cycling.



Observer Organisations 

Catherine Davies, Welsh Local Government Association

Catherine is Children’s Policy Officer at the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA), leading on the Association’s policy in the areas of early years and childcare, child poverty, children’s rights and reform of Additional Learning Needs. Catherine represents local government on a number of external bodies including Welsh Government’s Childcare Working Group, the End Child Poverty Network Cymru and the Children in Wales Policy Council.

A former civil servant, on graduating Catherine joined the Home Office in London and worked across a range of policy areas and in HM Treasury. Returning to her home city of Cardiff in 2001, Catherine held posts in the education department at Welsh Government before joining the WLGA in 2009. 



Owen Evans, Children in Wales

Owen is the Chief Executive of Children in Wales – the national umbrella body for organisations and individuals who work with children, young people and their families in Wales. Children in Wales is a membership body, with its members drawn from the voluntary, statutory and independent sectors. Owen is responsible for the overall strategic leadership of the organisation and represents the Welsh children’s sector on many Wales and UK forums. Owen is also a Trustee of a large UK-wide fostering charity, where he sits on the Finance Committee and leads on Trustee recruitment.


Sign up to receive regular updates about children’s play and playwork

Communication Preferences

Please state how you would prefer to be contacted.
To view our privacy policy, click here.