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