Feature: Leamington play cafe is great for young children and their parents
Parents who want to relax and have a hot drink while their children play happily without travelling far afield to find a soft play area now have the perfect place to go in Old Town.
Sisters Elaine Duncan, Natalie Dolby and Michelle Whalley, who are all from Leamington, opened Dinky’s Play Cafe at the former catering equipment store at 66 Bath Street on December 1 having taken out the lease on the property from June and refurbishing it since then.
The cafe offers soft play areas for children aged up to eight and is already proving popular for mums and dads who want to take a break, have a drink and even a bite to eat for an hour or two while their little ones burn off some energy.
The sisters named the cafe after the nickname their late mother Lavinia Duncan was known by.
Elaine said: “We used to quite often talk about there not being anything for children to do in Leamington and we’d see in coffee shops that parents would be sat trying to have a drink with their child in a pram with nothing for the little one to do so we thought this would be ideal for them.
“We went on from there.
“There are a lot of coffee shops in town and even around here there are four so we wanted to do something different.
“People have told us that Leamington has been crying out for a place like this.”
The cafe is open on Monday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm and there are plans for it to be open on Sundays and on evenings exclusively for parties.
Parents pay £2 per child to use to soft play equipment for two hours but the soft play area for children under two years old is free.
The business takes card payments for amounts over £5.
Elaine said: “We tried to think of things parents would like for us to provide but we’re going to have a suggestion box so people can help us to improve the business.
“We’re all parents but it’s not always easy to remember what you need when you have younger children - plus parenting has changed a lot.
“For example, what some people feed their children has changed and people like organic foods and things like that which is different from when mine were young.
“We also get quite a lot of dads coming in with children whereas years ago it would mainly be women who were at home looking after their youngsters. It’s very much a shared thing and the dynamics of family life has changed.
“We’ve been very lucky with how nice our customers are and it’s been a really nice venture for us so far.
“We get very busy - especially on Fridays.
“There are always teething problems when you try to get a business up and running but the feedback we’ve had has said we’ve done a really nice job and this feels like the ideal place for us to have set up.”
The sisters want to launch sensory evenings for children with autism and a support group for their parents at the cafe in the near future.
For more information about Dinky’s Play Cafe search for it on Facebook.