On Thursday 06 July 2023, the Association of Play Industries held a special Annual General Meeting (AGM) and dinner at Coombe Abbey, Warwickshire. During the event, they launched two new research projects focusing on enhancing children’s play opportunities.

The true value of play

Dr. Chris Mackintosh from Manchester Metropolitan University presented the aims and objectives of new, commissioned independent research into the play industry. The project will assess global research, provide an overview of the play industry’s size, scope and influence, and estimate its social, health, environmental and economic worth in the UK.

Play in schools

Dr. Amanda Gummer and Nikita Chan of Fundamentally Children outlined plans to raise the profile of API members in the education sector. Their research aims to identify schools’ key concerns around children’s development, learning and wellbeing, including considerations for new playground equipment. Communication activities will highlight the importance of active play in safe, well-designed spaces, and a resource bank of curriculum-linked activities will be exclusively available to schools commissioning API members.

Farewell and thank you

Additionally, the AGM served as an opportunity to express gratitude to the outgoing Chair, Mark Hardy, for his decade-long commitment to the association. Mark’s expertise and passion have positioned the API as a thought-leader in the industry and raised awareness of the importance of children’s outdoor play. The API Executive Officers and Vice Chair were elected through the bi-annual vote during the event. The search for Mark’s successor as Chair is underway, and he will continue in the role until a suitable replacement is found.


FSPA Chair Rob Baker (left) with outgoing API Chair Mark Hardy, at the API AGM at Coombe Abbey.