Play equipment order values experience marked rise

A growth in orders indicates a positive trend in the play market, but public funding is still constrained, according to the play industry.

Signs the economy is recovering - image: Playdale Playgrounds
Signs the economy is recovering - image: Playdale Playgrounds

Play equipment companies have seen an increase in orders and in the number of public tenders, helped by funding from Sport England and other grant organisations.

Barry Leahey, sales and marketing director at Playdale Playgrounds, said: "We have seen an increase in the number of public tenders for play areas in the UK, this coupled with an increase in order levels is a positive sign that the economy is recovering."

He added: "Play England and other grant bodies continue to make up some of the shortfall in public spending. We estimate around 30 per cent of our orders are funded through a variety of local and national grant bodies."

The latest figures from Association of Play Industries (API) member companies show quarterly order values for the UK play market grew by 20 per cent in the first quarter of 2015. The figures show order values worth £46.2m for the first quarter of 2015 - a 6.7 per cent increase on the same quarter last year (£43.3m). Export order values were £1.6m in Q1 2015, a 38.5 per cent increase on the same quarter last year (£1.1m).

API chairman Michael Hoenigmann said the installation of outdoor facilities for hundreds of schools with no suitable space for sport played a key role in this upswing, funded by Sport England's Primary Spaces initiative. However, budgets for public play provision remain constrained, he said.

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