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Will our children’s indoor play areas ever re-open ?

Love then or loathe them, children’s indoor play areas are well used by parents when their children need to let off steam and adults meet to share coffee and attempt to have a conversation with another adult.

But soft play centres face being wiped out amid the coronavirus pandemic as one of the last industries to have a proposed opening date.

The BBC have reported that more than 25,000 people have signed the #RescueIndoorPlay petition, calling on the government to make a decision on reopening or offer more financial support to the UK’s 1,100 centres, which employ 30,000 people. There is also concern among operators about the impact closure could have on families with young children, which rely on soft play centres for sanity and socialisation.

We spoke to Charlie Water who owns Finkley Down Farm in Andover, “There is no date at all given for the reopening of indoor play in England, although it is open in Northern Ireland .  The playbarn at Finkley has been open for 8 years now and has enabled us to open all year round . with the good Summer weather we are having it has not been missed too much with children enjoying playing outside . However unfortunately we have had to lay off some members of staff. The farm will struggle throughout the Winter months without it  and if it does not open it will lead to the loss of more team members. We are confident we can open our indoor play safely by reducing numbers and with strict cleaning procedures.”

If you would like to see indoor play areas reopen , please do sign the #RescueIndoorPlay petition which can be found here

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Sarah Gisbourne

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