Areas of Expertise
Community and stakeholder engagement, Play, Social research
May is a facilitator and consultant focusing on the creation and management of high-quality public spaces – with an expertise in play.
She is founding director of Pathways, a social research consultancy, with 20 years’ experience working in the public, voluntary and private sector. She is passionate about helping places and organisations connect better with the communities they serve.
May manages complex projects, bringing diverse stakeholder together to create shared visions and robust plans to invigorate the places they manage and use. Her input supports all parts of the process: stakeholder identification; needs mapping; collaborative research; consultation; sense making; visioning; consensus building; conflict resolution; action planning; community engagement; events and evaluation. Clients include: Natural England; The Forestry Commission; The Wellcome Trust; Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty; the RSPB; Wildlife Trusts; Community Forests; National Parks; and over 20 local authorities.
Running through May’s work is an intense interest in what makes people, communities, and places thrive. She is an instinctive systems-based thinker – and works to explore strategies that ‘multi-solve’ – enabling places to meet the widest possible amount of needs. Her input enables place leaders to manage their spaces in ways which makes them more inclusive, creative, resilient and entrancing.
May has a First-Class Degree in Economics, Social Policy and primary and qualitative research. She is an experienced Forest School Practitioner, and an Outstanding Early Years Teacher.
On becoming a parent, May set up Learning in The Woods: an outdoor learning setting that looks after 24 children a day. Taught by the world’s experts in play (children themselves), May now designs and builds playable landscapes. Her playscapes foster imaginative play – and often feature hideouts, mud, water and sand. They echo the natural world and so create landscapes in which childhood can flourish.