Playtime leads to business in Barnsley

4 April 2011

A Barnsley photographer has teamed up with local sign makers to create a unique magnetic board that is brightening up school playtimes.
Gavin Joynt came up with the idea for an interactive ‘thinking skills board’ after asking children how spaces at their school could be improved during a series of workshops.  
Brian Totty Signs, from Barnsley, produced the weather-proof board which now has pride of place in the playground at Asquith Primary School, Mansfield, and it is hoped that other schools may be interested in the idea.   
Gavin, of Gawber, and family-run Brian Totty Signs, based at Crookes Street, Barnsley, have both received development help from business support organisation Enterprising Barnsley.  
Enterprising Barnsley helps businesses with growth potential. It has attracted £2.89m investment from the European Regional Development Fund as part of Europe’s support for the region’s economic development through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme.
Gavin spent time with pupils who took photographs and created characters which were incorporated in to the board.
Gavin said: “We did a number of workshops with the children to get them to tell us their feelings and draw and create designs. I discussed the possibilities with Brian Totty Signs and found out we could print the children's ideas for graphics onto metal and the characters and photos they had created with me onto magnetic material. This allowed the board to be interactive and always be different.
“There are a number of sections on the board with games and challenges and the children love playing with it. They take it turns to take responsibility for it. 
“I really enjoy the challenge of taking commercial products and using them in new, creative ways.”
Gavin has also designed a set of screens for corridors at the school based on graphics created with the children. These have again been produced by Brian Totty Signs, which supplies signs for a wide range of industries and also specialises in vehicle livery.
Brian Totty said: “We have worked with Gavin on a number of different projects, all very bespoke in nature and with quite complex requirements.   The magnetic board is just one his many ideas to bring children’s creative ideas and work to life.
“As a family-run business, we work together to turn his inspiration into a finished product and that’s extremely rewarding for all concerned.”
The play board is one element of Asquith School’s Creative Partnerships project which is delivered by The Mighty Creatives, the young people's creative development agency for the East Midlands. 
Gavin started his business in 2003 after gaining a first-class honours degree in media and photography from Leeds University. He has run a number of creative workshops with schoolchildren in addition to undertaking work with commercial clients.
His abstract and travel photographs have been exhibited in the Barnsley area. Images from his abstract collection, in collaboration with artist Marcus Rowlands and called ‘Reflection on Space’, are on show at the ‘Made Barnsley’ exhibition at the Digital Media Centre, County Way, until April 29. The images all explore light and reflections and are infused onto metal. Pieces are on sale via the website which will be a permanent store for the sale of creative work.
For further information contact Gavin Joynt on 07763 777094, email or visit  For more information about Brian Totty Signs, call 01226 201015 or go to
For more details about Enterprising Barnsley contact programme manager Martin Beasley on 01226 772648 or at, or go to
Notes to News Editors:
Enterprising Barnsley is a partnership between Barnsley Development Agency, Barnsley Business and Innovation Centre and the University of Huddersfield’s Barnsley Campus. It is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to provide an integrated programme of business support. 
For more information about The Mighty Creatives visit

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