Shaped for sport or perfect for play? 
SportTop's Bill Worthington explains why choosing the correct system can boost both performance and safety while adding longevity
Posted by Hannah Oakman | March 16, 2015 | Sports & Leisure
SportTop, Sports, Facilities, Outdoor play

With the 2015 budget fresh in the minds of bursars and facility owners across the UK, the provision of sport and play in schools once again comes under the microscope. But what is the best way to ensure your school’s sporting budget is spent wisely and hits the mark?

Varying surface requirements

The requirements of your school’s sporting facilities will vary hugely depending on the space available and the type and level of play required.

For many, Multi-Use Games Areas (MUGAs) are an indispensible part of their sports and play offer. They allow a variety of games to be played in one set space, reducing the need for multiple courts. Whether basketball, football, tennis or hockey, a good MUGA will facilitate play across a variety of sports.

Ensure continued high-quality outdoor play

Synthetic multi-sport surfaces are excellent all rounders in this regard, with resilient polymeric surfaces such as SportTop being an ideal choice. Created especially for a MUGA, they are a continuous surface that is effective for use on almost any outdoor recreation area.

What’s more, high quality flooring systems, like SportTop, are safe and cost effective, having been designed to meet Sport England MUGA Type 3 and 4 specifications.

Bill Worthington, Manager of UK sports surfacing specialist SportTop explains why synthetic surfaces are the ideal offering for outdoor sports that give the best play conditions.

“In terms of multitasking to best fit the changing needs of your facility and timetable, porous polymeric surfaces are ideal for a wide variety of activities. As well as providing high-quality play, they combine comfort with good grip, excellent ball rebound characteristics and minimise the risk of injuries through fast drainage after rainfall.”

But while a MUGA is vital for some schools, there are times when other surfaces will be needed to satisfy different play characteristics. SportTop and its sister company, Abacus Playgrounds, provide a range of sports and play surfacing and components, for both indoor and outdoor facilities, ranging from artificial grass, resin bound pathways and wet-pour surfacing all the way through to Mulchbond, galvanized steel fencing and specialist floodlighting.

Assess your needs

“For schools, colleges and universities which pride themselves on outdoor sports, but require a very low maintenance option, artificial grass is an attractive alternative to natural grass,” adds Bill.

Good quality synthetic turf is fast draining, offers good resilience and remains UV stable to preserve colour. Of course, there is no need to cut and a good choice of grass, such as SportTop’s artificial grass, will be very low maintenance. Floodlighting and specialist fencing ensure optimal play, as well as extending playing hours to boost performance and participation.

For facilities that need safe surfacing for a play space, such as primary schools, wet-pour surfacing is ideal for a colourful, all-weather and durable surface that is extremely durable, protecting both your pupils and your budget. Available from Abacus Playgrounds Ltd, wet-pour and Mulchbond are systems well suited for schools with younger pupils and more robust safety requirements.

Whatever the needs of your school sports facilities, as with anything, it’s a matter of weighing up cost against delivery. While some surfaces are shaped for sport and others perfect for play, choosing a good quality synthetic sports surface could allow you to combine the two.

For more information about choosing a synthetic sports or play surface, visit or