A TEAM of relatives, friends and mums are now running a new play area after having a “crazy idea” to take over a closed down children’s centre.

PlayPalz Party and Softplay Centre, in Telford Road, Clacton, opened its doors last month and is run by lifelong friends Louise Sizzey and Emma Sharp.

The fresh and fun complex is located inside the former Robbie Rascals site, which shut down last summer after being a staple of the town for 20 years.

Bosses announced the decision was influenced by the damaging effects of the coronavirus pandemic, which has impacted most industries.

After hearing of the closure and seeing the building’s play frame go on the market, Emma, who has three children, decided to purchase it alongside Louise.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

“Rascals was Emma’s favourite, indoor softplay centre and she was absolutely gutted when she heard it was closing for good,” added Louise.

“It was by far the most convenient place in the Clacton area and a lot of people were saddened by it closing and were begging for it to re-open.

“Emma then messaged me to say it was for sale and we then came up with the crazy idea that we should buy it, take it over and create our own indoor softplay centre.”

Within a week, the business partners had purchased the frame, contacted the landlord and announced the site would soon be reopening under a new name.

Given the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, Louise, and Emma, who soon fell pregnant, had to overcome a few hurdles, but worked to bring the fun-loving centre back to life.

Louise said: “The whole building was looking tired and had started to get a bad reputation and it needed a new lease of life, and that is what we have given it.

“We spent months deep cleaning and painting it, and we have added a new boiler and new toilets, flooring, reception, signs, and tables and chairs.

“We have also added a new buzzer door system where all customers have to be buzzed in and out, so no great escapes can be made.”

Since opening its doors to wide-eyed children and their happy parents and carers, the PlayPalz Party and Softplay Centre has proved as popular as Rascals ever did.

Between her, Emma, and their dedicated team, Louise believes the centre can continue to achieve something special for years to come.

“We are a small, family and friends business on our first business adventure,” added Louise, who is godmother to Emma's children.

“We believe we have that special touch with remembering regular’s names and we have already established a good customer relationship, which is amazing.”

To find out more visit playpalz.co.uk.