About Nancy Ovens Trust

Play is part of the joy of childhood, and an integral part of children’s lives. Play is also vital to children’s healthy development, how they make sense of their world, learn life skills, and develop personally and socially. At the Nancy Ovens Trust we believe that play is for life.

Children have a right to play in their homes, at nursery, at school, in childcare and in their own communities.  Nancy Ovens passionately believed that children should be involved in designing their own play and the Nancy Ovens National Play Awards celebrate and promote forward thinking projects that: get children and young people involved in making choices about their play; develop their skills through play; enable them to experience challenge in their play and supports them to make judgements about risk.

Our Awards are the only Play awards for Scotland and are supported by the Scottish Government.

Our Story

nancy-ovens-photoNancy Ovens MBE campaigned tirelessly for over 40 years to improve play and youth work opportunities for children and young people across Scotland, the UK and internationally.

The Trust was set up in 2003 in memory of Nancy Ovens MBE to continue Nancy’s inspiring work. Family who helped set up the Trust is still committed to us and passionately supports our work after 13 years.

Read about some of the inspiring work of our winners in our Recent Awards page


Our People/Trustees

Our dedicated team of Trustees are all volunteers working to support Nancy’s vision of quality play for our children and young people:-

Jenny Hastings

jenny-hastingsI am daughter of Nancy & Allan Ovens, wife to rugby player Scott Hastings & mother to Corey & Kerry-Anne. I started my working life as a swimming teacher and volunteer swimming coach. Worked in the family stationery and printing business for 24 years. I am also a former Jog Leader and personal trainer; swimming was my main sport. I also competed in Athletics and Triathlons. I spend my time jogging & walking with our dog. Other leisure activities include yoga and spin cycling. I have supported The Royal Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh as a volunteer for the last couple of years.

Margot Walshe

I am Nancy Ovens’ younger daughter and founder Trustee of the Trust. As a qualified Landscape Architect I worked for Glasgow City Council Parks and Recreation Department; responsible for the design and development of landscape improvement schemes for parks, play areas and back court areas. Then, as a landscape architect and later, Head of Conservation, for Surrey County Council I was responsible for researching and writing the ‘Play Directory’ to encourage schools to make better use of their grounds for play. Following a career break, while my three children were young, I have recently returned to Surrey County Council as a Library Network Assistant.

Fraser Falconer

fraser-falconer-1Now retired from a 40-year full time career in the public and voluntary sector. Following my graduation from Moray House, I worked in youth and community work in the Highlands, then a period with OXFAM both as a fundraiser and a member of staff in India and Bangladesh.  This was then followed by leading a community enterprise in Glasgow before joining the BBC in1990 as Head of the Children In Need Appeal in Scotland. Amongst a number of current voluntary commitments, I am currently on the Boards of Youthlink and Scottish Spina Bifida Association and Chair the Scottish Government’s Play Strategy Group.

Margaret Westwood

margaret-westwoodI am Senior Play Development Officer for the City of Edinburgh Council with responsibility for Edinburgh’s city wide Play Strategy. Over 25 years’ experience in managing children’s play projects including: play schemes; indoor play; mobile play; play rangers; public play areas; and outdoor play and learning. I am Secretary of the International Play Association – Promoting the Child’s Right to Play; Chair of IPA Scotland; a member of the Scottish Government Play Strategy Implementation Group; Chair of Scotland’s Play Council and a previous Chair of Play Scotland.  However my most important play experiences are sand, water and fire play with my four grandchildren!

Douglas Forman

I am a Teacher and Community worker with over forty years experience of the sports, leisure and play sectors. Retired General Manager of a major Scottish Leisure Trust. Past Chair of the UK Sports and Leisure Industry Sector Skills Council, SkillsActive, which has Play in its remit. My skills include community work and organisation, business administration, finance and working with committees. I am a parent and grandparent and one of the Founder Trustees.

Penny Lochead

penny-lochheadI have worked in the leisure industry in Scotland for over 25 years and met Nancy when she sat on the Scottish Board of ILAM Scotland. Nancy was a friend and mentor as I grew in my consultancy PMR Leisure. PMR Leisure works with communities throughout Scotland developing community sports and leisure projects. Much of this work includes community consultation with young people, helping them become empowered in their communities to make change and give them a voice to help shape their future environment. Working with youth projects throughout Scotland, I get an insight into the areas of where play has a role for older teenagers in our growing and busy community infrastructure. I live in North Berwick with my husband Dave and two children Olivia and Amy who have often taken part in judging the play areas over the years to ensure that as Trustees we gain a children’s perspective of what’s attractive in outdoor play. I am a Director of Foxlake Adventures, outdoor adventure social enterprise, along with two other new outdoor adventure sites and a charitable Trustee of Together in Sport Rwanda.

Andrew Shoolbread

andrew-shoolbreadI have worked for the Scottish Out of School Care Network (SOSCN) since 2001 in a variety of capacities, currently as Policy and Research Manager. I help shape and implement policy at local, national and international levels on issues such as school-age childcare, children’s rights, play and creativity, and child development. A major focus of the work is practice improvement/development and I deliver training and mentoring to out of school care staff, managers and management. I also have research experience and have undertaken numerous projects on behalf of the Scottish Government, various local authorities and other national organisations. Prior to working for SOSCN I taught English abroad including 2 years in Japan where I worked in kindergarten, primary and junior secondary schools.

Raymond Branton

raymond-brantonI am the CEO of the multi-award winning Family and Community Development West Lothian. I head up a range of play based projects, including a purpose built adventure playground, holiday programmes, numerous after school services, “Play Works” annual conference, woodland play experiences and training of Play workers. I have been involved in children’s play projects for over 35 years and am particularly passionate about play and risk. I first came across Nancy Ovens’ work while I was a student at Moray House and love celebrating excellent practice in play through the work of the Trust.


Or do you know an organisation or someone who deserves an award?

Keep In Touch

For our latest updates, including news and research


We acknowledge the support of the Scottish Government through a Strategic Funding Partnership Grant

We would love to stay in touch.

Sign up for our latest updates, including news and research here.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Share This