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Play value

People should be safe and active at all ages… and this starts in childhood with safe and exciting playgrounds.

Children are among the most vulnerable to accidental injury and “almost 1 in 5 children are overweight or obese when they start primary school, rising to 1 in 3 when they start secondary school” according to the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

Fortunately, relatively few injuries happen to children when they’re playing on well designed and maintained playgrounds, where they can have lots of fun working off all that energy!

Why are playgrounds important?

Playgrounds are vital in providing spaces where children can express and challenge themselves, be active, experience risk and develop life skills to manage it – all the while being as safe as necessary, not as safe as possible.

That’s why boosting the appeal of playgrounds and play spaces, so children and their carers want to visit, is so important. RoSPA advocates that playgrounds offer a more open-ended and stimulating experience, with attention paid to the quality and variety of play experiences on offer. Another term for this is “play value”.

Play value and play safety go hand in hand.

RoSPA Play Safety inspections offer advice and insights not only on safety, but also on how to enhance the play value your playground or play space offers. For inspiration, we have prepared a showcase of some of the best playgrounds inspected by RoSPA Play Safety and recognised through the RoSPA Play Value Awards.

Play Value Awards

At every inspection we undertake throughout the UK, we make an assessment of the play value offered to children. The best of the best are shortlisted for our annual Play Value Awards, with attendees at the RoSPA Play Safety Conference asked to vote for the winners.

2023 Play Value Awards
This year, the awards were split into two categories, with the finalists and winners listed below:
Free to Enter:

  • The Meadow Recreation Ground, Linton Parish Council: WINNER

  • The Royal Parks, Gloucester Gate, Regent’s Park

  • Tamworth Borough Council Castle Grounds Playground

Pay to Play:

  • Bowood House and Garden Adventure Playground: WINNER

  • Hobbledown Heath – TouchWood Play

  • BeWILDerwood Norfolk

Time for an inspection?
Time for an inspection?

As well as making sure playgrounds are safe, RoSPA Play Safety can also offer advice about maximising play value

Need help on school safety?
Need help on school safety?

If you’re involved in health and safety management in schools and colleges, see our dedicated webpages

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Join RoSPA’s membership community

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Contact Us

General Enquiries
+44 (0)121 248 2000
+44 (0)121 248 2001
[email protected]
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