'It feels like starting afresh again' says Doncaster soft play boss as centre prepares to re-open

Doncaster's soft play areas are finally set to re-open next week – and Tracey Ebbage is delighted.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Tracey only opened Junglemazeia in Thorne in August 2018, and for not far short of half that time she has had to be closed because of coronavirus restrictions.

But with venue, on the Capitol Business Park. set to be allowed to re-open from next week, Tracey has already been taking bookings from Doncaster parents eager to find some fun for their children.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

She said: “We are looking to re-open on the Tuesday, as Monday is traditionally the day we have been closed anyway, so hopefully we’ll be back at 9.30am on May 18.

Tracey and Vicky Ebbage at Junglemazeia, in ThorneTracey and Vicky Ebbage at Junglemazeia, in Thorne
Tracey and Vicky Ebbage at Junglemazeia, in Thorne

“It’s online booking and we’ve already had a lot of inquiries. People have even been asking about parties, but we can’t do those yet, until June 21 at the earliest.

"Were wanting to bring everyone back, all the staff.

"Last year, we had to shut on March 23, and we were not back up and able to open again until September 1. Then we had to shut again on October 23.

"We only opened in August 2018, so we’d hardly been up and running – we were just getting started. So opening now feels rather like starting all over again from scratch.

Junglemazeia, in ThorneJunglemazeia, in Thorne
Junglemazeia, in Thorne
Hide Ad
Hide Ad

She said they had been receiving calls about when they would be re-opened from when the road map towards easing lockdown was first announced, back in February.

Tracey said she had taken on some extra workers at her venue because she thought they would be needed when they re-open, although she admitted she would not know how busy things were until they finally re-opened.

"I’m optimistic about next week,” she said. “I’m excited, but scared – it really does feel like starting afresh again. Some of our customers will have children who are too old for soft play now, but others will have children who are now old enought to come along.”

Transparent screens have been put up to separate staff and customers at the main desk, which are decorated with pictures of leaves and jungle animals to make them look part of the theme. There is also lots of hand sanitiser placed around the venue.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Liam Hoden, editor.