The Association of Play Industries (API) is the lead trade body in the play sector. It represents the interests of manufacturers, installers, designers and distributors of both outdoor and indoor play equipment and safer surfacing. The API promotes best practice and high-quality play provision within the play industry.
Working together through the various steering groups and committees, members separate themselves from commercial interests for the good of the industry, customers and suppliers.
The API campaigns at the highest levels for policy recognition of the value of play. Play delivers a raft of wide-ranging benefits to children’s development, health and wellbeing and every child has a fundamental right to play. The API believes that provision of high-quality play facilities has a vital role to play in tackling the nation’s physical inactivity epidemic and as well as addressing wider societal problems like exclusion and anti-social behaviour.
Founded in 1984 the API originally covered outdoor play equipment and surfacing manufacturers. It has expanded to incorporate indoor play and companies specialising in construction and installation. An Associate section was introduced in 2005. The API is run by its members who form the various committees and are experts in specific aspects of their industry. The API is one of the trade associations within the Federation of Sports and Play Associations (FSPA) umbrella. Formed in 1919, the FSPA has a long history of serving the industry. The API currently represents around 85% of the annual UK market demand of over £155m (2020).
The API has representatives on the British Standards Committee (SW65) and the European Standards Committee (CEN/TC 136/SC1). These committees are responsible for the preparation of standards directly related to playgrounds and safety surfacing.
The API is a founder member of The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on a Fit and Healthy Childhood. The purpose of the group is to promote evidence-based discussion and produce reports on all aspects of childhood health and wellbeing including obesity; to inform policy decisions and public debate relating to childhood; and to enable communications between interested parties and relevant parliamentarians.
Working closely with the Children’s Alliance the API contribute on a regular basis to their publications promoting issues which affect our children’s lives. Many are affected by challenges such as a lack of physical activity, mental health issues, socio-economic and cultural inequalities. Our contributions highlight the benefits of children’s play and the importance of play facilities.
The API are founder members of the Register of Play Inspectors International Ltd (RPII) and continue to hold a position on their Board of Directors. RPII is the official UK body for examining, accrediting and certificating inflatable, indoor and outdoor play inspectors. The RPII also accredits courses for the training of inspectors to ensure that playground safety standards are met and adhered to.
We are also founder members of the Children’s Play Policy Forum. The CPPF works to increase the understanding of the importance of children’s play. It promotes quality, inclusive play provision by working with devolved, national and local government and the voluntary, public and private sectors throughout the UK.
The API is also represented on the Children’s Play Safety Forum. Formed in 1993, the PSF exists to promote the wellbeing of children and young people through ensuring a balance between safety, risk and challenge in respect of play and leisure provision.