We are a group of Islington Council staff who have been delivering a play service across six adventure playground for many years. These playgrounds have been in the borough for more than 40 years and have seen many generations benefit from the free play opportunities, we work to support. We have a passion to ensure children can play freely, in their own way, in their own time.
However as the austerity measures continue to impact on local authorities it was clear that non-statutory services like ours would be vulnerable. Rather than wait to see what the future would bring, a small group of staff came together to explore the options. We then approached the rest of the playworkers across the service and held a vote by show of hands. The vote was on approaching the council with an expression of interest to run the service ourselves as an employee led social enterprise.
Our Awesome journey then began by first convincing the local authority that an employee led mutual could deliver the service. We got agreement in November 2014 to move forward as an employee led mutual in shadow form. This gave us the opportunity to prepare for the up and coming tender that we won in July 2016.
We believe passionately that play services that let children explore and experiment should remain free at the point of access. We are a not for profit organisation investing all the income we receive into our playgrounds routinely used by some of the borough’s most vulnerable children and families.
Building on the six adventure playgrounds being hubs within their communities, we aim to work with the schools, the local authority, parents/carers, children, young people and the wider community to offer new services.
6 basic principles of Awesome’s co-ownership culture
Awesome’s would-be employees have devised 6 basic principles that collectively they expect everyone to uphold in their day to day roles regardless of being employee, volunteer, apprentice or intern. These principles are the DNA of Awesome’s co-ownership culture which can be summed up as “We all play our part, we all benefit”. These 6 principles will form Awesome’s employee code of conduct and employees will live and breathe these principles, ensuring they are highly visible and widely used in day-to-day Play practice.