Sheffield play centre hit by social media closure campaign

The Play Arena, Sipra Deb
The Play Arena, Sipra Deb
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The boss of a Sheffield soft play centre has spoken out after a child suffered a cut eyebrow - sparking a social media campaign to close it down.

Sipra Deb, who runs The Play Arena on Little London Road, said she and staff had been the target of abuse and complaints after a three-year-old boy ran into a table in the cafe.

play arena

play arena

He was reunited with his party and given first aid. But later a ‘barrage of negative comments’ were posted on the firm’s Facebook page and on review site Tripadvisor claiming it was unsafe, dirty, first aid had been inadequate and staff had been unhelpful.

An online petition, ‘Close down Play Arena’, set up by user Sonia Cooling, has 219 signatures.

She states, ‘If a three-year-old child is not allowed, or is not safe to run around in a soft play centre, where can they?

‘I am disgusted with this venue, the staff and the management and would appreciate someone investigating to ensure safety standards and training for staff are improved to ensure children do not go through what my nephew did.’

Sipra, who opened The Play Arena four years ago and employs 30 said: “We have had to endure personal insults and many allegations on social media sites causing great distress to people who work to provide a service to communities far and wide.”

More than 100,000 children visit every year, she added.

After the incident she said she replaced the square table with a round one. She also contacted Sheffield City Council.

A report by an environmental health officer states the cafe is not part of the soft play zone.

It adds: ‘As in all café areas where there are hot beverages that can scald, parents need to control excited children.’

It also states the venue exceeds first aid legal requirements and has a five-star food hygiene rating.

Some parents have posted in support.

Rebbecca Goldie wrote:’OMG get a grip, kids have accidents all the time’.