Our Story

Hackney Playbus was set up in 1972 under the name of Hackney Playmobile by Pauline Weinstein, a keen advocate for early years childcare supported by a committee of local activists including Anthony Kendall, founder member of Centerprise, later to become Leader of Hackney Council. Pauline Weinstein typed and wrote letter after letter to funders, benefactors, local and national businesses to raise money and materials, buying our first bus from London Transport in April 1972. Conversion of our first bus was carried out by Hackney Downs boys school carpentry department.

In 1998 we became an independently registered charity. The project went on to attract substantial Sure Start funding to continue to take our service out into the community in Hackney and Tower Hamlets, reaching around 5,000 children a year. When the government centralised early years delivery into children’s centres, Hackney Playbus found a new role in outreach, working in partnership with the new centres to ensure that the most isolated families were linked into children’s centre services.

Hackney Playbus continues to work in innovative ways with a range of partners, including children’s centres, health professionals, social landlords and other voluntary sector agencies. We work wherever there is a risk that children in their early years may miss out on support, and wherever there is an identified need to reach out and engage with families.