'Backbone' of Thames Valley Adventure Playground returns after one year of shielding

Adrian Williams

Adrian Williams


A staff member of Thames Valley Adventure Playground (TVAP) is looking forward to getting back to work with children and adults with special needs after a year of shielding.

Janine Brown has been working for TVAP for the past 32 years. Because she is vulnerable, Janine has had to shield since last March and could no longer attend in person.

At the age of two, Janine suffered her first epileptic seizure and continued to experience severe seizures throughout her early years, leading to learning difficulties.

Janine went to school at Holyport Manor and was then enrolled on a Pre-Vocational Education course at Windsor College. She was recruited to work at TVAP by then chairwoman Barbara Prior.

Continuing to this day, working for TVAP has been ‘a godsend’ in Janine’s life, according to her parents Ray and Joy – the charity helped Janine develop skills and gain confidence.

Normally Janine lives in sheltered accommodation, however COVID-19 restrictions would have this meant she was by herself. Instead, she moved back in with her parents in Cookham and has been there since September.

Working from home, she has been occupied with arts and crafts for TVAP. Now she has had her first vaccination, she is looking forward to returning to the playground on Friday.

“I can’t wait to see everyone, I’ve missed being with all the children and adults with special needs,” she said.

“I’m looking forward to getting back into my routine. I enjoy showing people around the playground, doing all my jobs there, and doing respite – helping to look after the children each day.”

Janine’s second vaccination is due in May and she will be having weekly COVID-19 tests so she can continue to work safely at the playground.

Gary Warrington, TVAP manager said:

“Janine is the person who keeps us on our toes. She is our go-to Makaton guru, our timekeeping terror with the infallible memory letting us know what needs doing and when.

“The last year has been very quiet without her. She is a huge part of the backbone of TVAP and we can’t wait to have her back and see her rise to the new challenges that COVID has brought us in her own inimitable way.”

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