Check out this Sheffield playspace that prioritises mums and dads too
Anne Connolly knows what Sheffield mums and dads really need.
On my first visit to Rattle and Roll Playspace, on Vincent Road, I’m thrilled to find colourful, fun, clean and secure play areas, a menu stuffed with tasty food, friendly attentive staff, and an endless supply of tea.
But it’s the small attentions to detail that I find really thoughtful – a packet of wet wipes and tissues at each table, security gates on the main door, and colourful baby sensory items available to buy behind the counter.
“Obviously children are our priority, but so are the parents,” says Anne.
“We like to think that we’re taking good care of you too, and giving you a little time to relax and enjoy a hot drink or some lunch while your children are playing safely. Parents need that.”
They certainly do, and as I watch my five-year-old running happily from room to room, I can't help but wish I'd discovered this place earlier.
As it is, Anne – who has run Rattle and Roll music sessions in the city for the past 16 years - just launched the playspace back in April.
“We really wanted to create a new challenge for ourselves, and a space designed for families,” says the mum-of-six, who also has another on the way. A handful of Anne’s children are running around today playing with Imogen, and they’re clearly used to sharing this lovely space with other kids, leading her from the main play room – which is stuffed with toys – through to the beautiful dark sensory room – complete with fibre optics and bubble tubes – and finally to the play equipment outside in the sunshine, which again is secure inside a locked gate, visible from the airy cafe we’re sat in.
“We have lots of toys inside, and lovely equipment outside, plus in the summer we’ve had a paddling pool out, and really just worked to make this a relaxing and fun environment,” says Anne.
The cafe, which has a staff of nine, plus Anne, is tucked away just outside of the city centre. Not clearly signposted from the road, the relatively new venue, hidden behind a large green gate, relies on word of mouth and social media to inform people of its presence.
“We’re busy in the week, less so on the weekends at the moment,” Anne shares.
“We’re open seven days a week, and we’re always coming up with new ideas to let people know we’re here. We also host private birthday parties which has been lovely.
“It’s lovely to work somewhere where my children, who are aged one to 16, can come and spend time too, it’s been a real adventure for me, and for the whole family.”
Visit Rattle and Roll Playspace on Facebook.