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Mobile play company can reopen - bringing summer fun to children in Suffolk and Essex

PUBLISHED: 11:35 05 August 2020 | UPDATED: 16:29 06 August 2020

Children enjoying a play tea party before lockdown Picture: LITTLE CITY

Children enjoying a play tea party before lockdown Picture: LITTLE CITY

LITTLE CITY

Mobile play company Little City is preparing to bring its fun sessions for toddlers to community halls in Suffolk and Essex this month, after being given permission to reopen.

A youngster role playing at being a vet before lockdown  Picture: LITTLE CITYA youngster role playing at being a vet before lockdown Picture: LITTLE CITY

The company, which is based in Brantham and has a number of franchises, runs role-playing sessions based in a toddler-sized street.

Play sessions are currently planned in locations including Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, Thurston, Rickinghall, Maldon and Witham and are selling out fast, with some sessions already being fully booked.

Little City is working closely with halls and community centres and plans for more locations to reopen in future.

The company’s founder, Vicki Fletcher, said: “We’re really excited to get back up and running and to see our regular customers again.

Dressing up as a firefighter at a Little City play session before lockdown Picture: LITTLE CITYDressing up as a firefighter at a Little City play session before lockdown Picture: LITTLE CITY

“Children need to be able to play freely and role play is a massive part of their development and how children understand the world.”

MORE: When can we reopen? Soft play centres plea as closure fears grow

She added: “As an entirely mobile play business, we use local village halls and community centres and have been working hard behind the scenes to be Covid-secure, producing risk assessments and adjusting how we run to ensure we’re safe and still fun for the little ones that come to visit and play.”

At the play sessions, children can try their hand at being a firefighter, hairdresser, vet or doctor, or run their own shop or cafe.

Mrs Fletcher said a maximum of 30 people will be allowed at a session, with 15 children and 15 grown-ups, including parents and staff.

Little City play sessions for young children are set to reopen in Suffolk and Essex Picture: LITTLE CITYLittle City play sessions for young children are set to reopen in Suffolk and Essex Picture: LITTLE CITY

Play sessions will be an hour long, 15 minutes shorter than in the past, with a 45 minute break before more children can play for thorough cleaning of the whole area and surfaces. All the smaller items will be removed for cleaning and replaced with fresh items for the next session.

Mrs Fletcher added: “There’s a lot of things we need to implement to ensure we and our customers are safe, which is a bit daunting, but we love what we do and can’t wait to get back to it. I’m really confident our plans and preparations will pay off.

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“Every member of my team is a working parent to young children - we need to get back to work for our families. All the team are self-employed and as many had only recently opened before lockdown, they’ve been unable to access any of the government financial help. It’s been a very long few months for all of us.”

Although Little City has now been given permission to reopen, Mrs Fletcher feels for all the soft play centre owners who are still waiting for a date .

A youngster role playing at being a vet before lockdown  Picture: LITTLE CITYA youngster role playing at being a vet before lockdown Picture: LITTLE CITY

She said: “There is a massive black hole where indoor play used to be. We don’t understand why soft play can’t open, but pubs, bars and gyms can.

“I truly believe that indoor play sessions, toddler groups, mum and baby groups are needed, for the mental and social well-being of the kids but also the parents.”

Tickets for play sessions are now available via the Little City website.


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