A teacher is fulfilling her dream of opening a play cafe for families.
Wearside mum-of-three, Kimberley Welburn, has opened the doors to Oopsy Down Town in Easington.
Kimberley, who was an early years teacher for 13 years, has turned a large vacant former shop in Seaside Lane into a play haven for youngsters.
And, being a cake maker as well, the Hetton businesswoman is sure to have tasty treats on the cafe menu.
The play area is packed with fun activities for youngsters, including sand and water areas, a dress-up area, tents and books.
There is also a ‘Grandma’s House’, a ‘Nana’s Salon’ and ‘Jackson’s Tool Hire’ area, as well as a pit wheel on the wall as a nod to Easington’s mining heritage.
I hope it will be a boost to the communityKimberley Welburn
Various classes and activities will be running each week and there is a room which will be available for party hire - already a number are booked in.
Kimberley, 37, who gave up teaching 18 months ago to become a childminder so she could spend more time with her own children, Lewin, nine, Freddie, six, and three-year-old Eloise, said she hopes the play cafe will give a much-needed boost to the former colliery village.
She said: “This is something I have dreamed of doing for a long time.
“Many of these play cafes are on industrial estates, but a lot of families don’t drive so they are hard for them to get to, but we are on a bus route.
“I hope it will be a boost to the community. People will travel to use our facilities and hopefully will end up using the other shops there, so other businesses will benefit.”
Kimberley and her husband, Kevin, a 37-year-old engineer, worked solidly for weeks to get Oopsy Down Town ready for opening and are very excited.
She said: “We have really had our work cut out and it has been a big task getting it ready. We worked all over the holidays, apart from Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day we were in the shop.”
But, seeing the end results has made it all worth it and they are already getting lots of positive feedback for the idea and bookings for events, including an upcoming Practically Perfect Party.
The play cafe will open between 9.30am and 3.30pm, Monday to Friday, and 10am to 4pm on Saturdays. It can be hired for birthday parties and functions on Sundays and Bank Holidays.
Other plans include an Ofsted-registered after-school club and music sessions for under-threes.
To find out more about Oopsy Down Town visit the play cafe’s Facebook page.