RoSPA Play Safety Conference 2019

Thursday December 5, 2019 - Hilton Birmingham Metropole

The 2019 RoSPA Play Safety Conference aims to help play providers develop and maintain quality play spaces that integrate with the natural environment. The value to the child of play space comes not primarily from the fixed equipment and furniture, but from their engagement with the environment. It is essential that such provisions cater for the needs of children, whilst being as safe as necessary.

This event is ideal for Heads of Leisure for a major authority, play area managers and volunteers at a local level. This conference will stimulate and improve your organisation's approach to ensuring play value through natural play.

Please note the conference is now fully booked and a waiting list is now in place. Please contact to be added to the list.



09:15 Registration, refreshments and networking

10:00 Welcome and introduction from Chairman

10:05 Update on Play Safety
David Yearley, Head of Play Safety, RoSPA Play Safety

  • The past, the present and looking to the future

10:30 How we can all learn to stop worrying and love risky play
Tim Gill, Independent Researcher, Rethinking Childhood

  • What is risky play?
  • Why is it such a big deal?
  • How can we manage the risks properly, let the kids have fun AND cover our backs

11:00 Natural Play
Joe Cooper, Director, Touch Wood Enterprises LTD

  • All children have an innate biological drive to play which naturally propels them to interact with the physical world around them in diverse and dynamic ways. They are natural experts in play.
  • Natural settings and materials provide opportunities for children’s play that both enhance well-being in the here and now as well as forming positive memories that can last a lifetime.

11:30 Refreshments and networking

11:50 Children and the Elements – Risks and Rewards for the Future
Harry Harbottle, CATE Consulting
Harry will present why it is important that children become more connected with their world for the benefit of themselves and their planet. Why irrational fears are preventing them from doing that and how they (and we) could be rewarded by allowing them to manage risk and uncertainty at an early age.

12:15 Timber Testing
David Yearley, Head of Play Safety, RoSPA Play Safety
This session will explore the use of timber in children's playgrounds and what the effects of decay can be.  We will look at testing methods, including resistograph testing to detect decay before it becomes problematic.

  • Common types of timber
  • How to inspect
  • Finding decay
  • Resistograph testing.

12:50 Lunch and networking

Play value awards
At each and every inspection we undertake throughout the UK we make an assessment of the play value offered to children.  During the course of our travels we find the sites which offer excellent play value.  The best of the best are showcased here, with the chance for conference delegates to choose their favourite.  For each of the six shortlisted sites you will be able to see what has inspired the designer and how they have managed to produce one of the best playgrounds in the country.

13:35 Diana Memorial Playground

13:50 Heaton Park
Saul Mearns, Estate Team Leader and Vicky Cheung, Project Manager
14:05 Sacrewell Farm
Mark Renouard, Director, Earth Wrights Ltd
14:20 The Children’s Garden
14:35 Town Park
14:50 Williams Den
Joe Cooper, Director, Touch Wood Enterprises LTD

15:05 Voting

15:10 Awards presentations

15:20 Conference close


The 2019 Play Safety Conference will be held at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole, Birmingham.


The NEC Birmingham,
Pendigo Way,
Marston Green,
B40 1PP
0121 780 4242

Getting to the event

  Travel by car

From Birmingham International Airport, bear right onto Concorde Road, turn right onto Vanguard Road and then bear left onto Airport Way. At the roundabout take the 3rd exit then merge onto Coventry Road A45 (sign posted M42, M6, M1, M40, M5, Coventry). Branch left (sign posted M42, M6, M1, M40, M5, NEC), then at the roundabout take the first exit onto Pendigo Way (sign posted NEC). At the roundabout take the first exit into the car park of the Hilton Birmingham Metropole.

There is a large car park onsite which is charged at £8.00.

  Travel by train

Traveling from Birmingham International Train Station

Birmingham International is a short 10 minute walk or 5 minute drive from the hotel.

Traveling from Birmingham New Street train station

From Birmingham New Street Station, take the train to Birmingham International Station. The journey normally takes around 10-15 minutes depending on the time of day. At Birmingham International Station, use the courtesy telephone (adjacent to Subway) to ask for the hotel bus to pick you up. The journey from Birmingham International Station to Hilton Birmingham Metropole hotel takes 5 minutes by courtesy bus. The 24-hour service runs every 30 minutes.

  Travel by courtesy bus

Due to security measures in force at Birmingham Airport, we are no longer permitted to use our courtesy bus service direct to or from the airport between the hours of 06.00 and 23.00. All hotel guests travelling from Birmingham Airport during these hours should take the mono rail to Birmingham International rail station, where you should use the free telephone (signposted with the Hilton logo adjacent to Subway), the shuttle bus will be able to then collect passengers.

All guests travelling to Birmingham Airport outside these hours should contact the Hotel on 0121 780 6265. The bus stop is at Bus Stop C and located at outside the main arrival and departure terminal.

The journey takes approximately five minutes and our courtesy bus runs every 30 minutes, 24 hours per day.

Click here for further travel information.

Who Should Attend?

The conference will be of interest to anyone involved with playgrounds and play safety including Leisure Managers, Local Authority Playground Managers, Local Council Clerks, Playground Operators, or volunteers at local level

Sponsor & Exhibit

If you're interested in showcasing your product or services at the event, please contact Letty Hill at for further information.


Please note the conference is now fully booked and a waiting list is now in place. Please contact to be added to the list.

Member rate - £125 + VAT

Non-member rate - £145 + VAT

Booking Information

Register for waiting list

Contact Us

Events Team
+44 (0)121 248 2090
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