County news: Little Street to open Sussex centre
A child-size town for children to play at real-life roles from a construction worker to a doctor is set to open in Sussex this month.
Little Street will open its centre in Bognor Road, Chichester on July 26, offering scaled down versions of high streets for children to play and learn.
Entrepreneur Rebecca Woltenholme has obtained a £70,000 funding package from NatWest to purchase the second franchise of the Little Street play centres.
She has spent nine weeks refurbishing the premises on Bognor Road into a fully functioning play town, complete with theatre, beauty salon, supermarket, construction site, medical centre, barn and cafe.
The facility will open for four sessions daily, seven days a week, and will also offer exclusive hire for children’s parties.
Ahead of the two-day launch on July 26 and 27, a free ticket giveaway has been announced on the Little Street Chichester Facebook page.
Rebecca, a former aviation industry employee, will run the business and will create six new jobs including a manager, supervisor and part-time assistants who will provide support during the play sessions.
Once established, Rebecca and her husband Boris hope to open a second franchise in the Horsham area.
The Little Street franchise was founded in 2013 by Shay and Hannah Elbaum to provide creative and educational role play centres for children.
The Chichester branch is the fourth to open in the South East, with the others located in Frimley, West Byfleet and Maidstone.
Rebecca said: “When I took my children Thomas and Freddie, aged three and six, to the Little Street in Frimley I fell in love with the concept.
“Being able to start my own franchise was the perfect opportunity to become self-employed, and thanks to NatWest’s funding families in West Sussex will now also be able to enjoy the Little Street offering.”
Tom Barnes, relationship manager at NatWest, said: “Our funding has supported a local business and a growing franchise that will be of great value to families in Chichester and the surrounding areas.
“We look forward to continuing to work with Rebecca and her husband as they establish their business and expand.”