Greater Manchester Conservative MPs join forces and call for answers for indoor & soft play centres
This week, Greater Manchester Conservative MPs have written to the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy, urging them to provide greater clarity on the plans for reopening children’s’ soft play centres, as well the introduction of a bespoke package of financial support.
Last week, James Grundy MP visited Treetops Party & Play Café in Golborne, and was impressed by the plans they had put in place to reopen safely, including increased cleaning measures in place. During his visit, he also spoke with staff members and customers who were fully supportive of the businesses comprehensive reopening plans.
However, Soft Play Centres, along with nightclubs, are now the only two sectors left without a reopening date, and although nightclubs have been awarded bespoke financial support measures, soft play centres have not, much to the concern of Joanne Fairclough, owner of Treetops Party & Play Café.
Other Greater Manchester Conservative MPs have visited local indoor soft play centres over the last fortnight, and have too heard similar concerns from local play centre owners, which resulted in them joining together to call for a reopening date for this sector, as well as tailored financial support given that these businesses have had to remain closed for a significant period of time after others have reopened.
Speaking on this campaign, Mr Grundy said:
“Having recently visited Treetops Party & Play Café and hearing fantastic reviews from local residents about Treetops during my time as a Councillor, I know just how important a community hub Treetops is to so many families across the local community. During my visit, it was also a pleasure to hear from Joanne, her team, and regular customers, about the support for her reopening plans, as well as her calls for increased financial support whilst her business must remain closed, without a reopening date.
“During discussions with my Greater Manchester colleagues, they too had heard of similar experiences from their local play centres, who will struggle to keep afloat and retain all their staff if the Government does not introduce a bespoke financial package for indoor and soft play centres like Treetops.
“This is why we have written to the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy, to urge them to provide a reopening date for soft play centres, as well as bespoke financial support to ensure these fantastic community hubs can remain open and continue to provide a happy environment for families to enjoy time together.”
Also speaking on the campaign to reopen Soft Play Centres, Joanne Fairclough, owner of Treetops Party & Play Café said:
“Indoor play centres are hidden exercise for children in the form of play and our equipment is designed to develop children’s physical strength, co-ordination and problem-solving abilities. The Chief Medical Officer’s guidelines for Early Years Activity advises exercise for 180 minutes a day for a child aged 1 – 5 and 60 minutes per day for children aged over 5. Venues like ours are particularly beneficial to children who do not join in structured sports activities or can’t ‘play out’ near their home.
We have always been known for having high standards of cleanliness and hygiene. We have put a raft of measures in place to become Covid Secure, included limited capacity, an online booking system and a rigorous extra cleaning schedule.
We miss our customers and can’t wait to be told we can open again. Sadly, due to the delayed opening we have not benefitted from the help other sectors have had but we know we can make Treetops a safe environment and we deserve the chance to bounce back too.