An award-winning role play centre, created to encourage young children to explore life in the world around them, has opened its doors in Rudgwick.
A realistic scaled-down version of a typical town, Little Street features a supermarket, construction site, pizza shop, beauty salon, fire service, police station, vets practice, theatre and picnic spot.
There is also a café service selling hot and cold drinks, cakes and healthy snacks for the grown-ups, and a baby soft play area so younger siblings can also join in the fun.
Rebecca Wolstenholme, play centre franchise owner, said: “Every child loves to play make-believe and there is no better place for supporting and awakening their imagination than Little Street.
“We believe this new centre is an amazing facility that families, nurseries and schools can benefit from within West Sussex.
“The support we have received from locals and from afar has been incredible.”
Opened on Thursday January 17, Little Street Rudgwick is situated on the edge of the King George V recreation ground and directly off the A281 Horsham/Guildford road making it easily accessible from both Sussex and Surrey.
There is also a free car park directly outside the centre.
Rebecca said: “We decided on our location in Rudgwick as it was really important to us for our customer to have easy access to our centre, with the aim of Little Street becoming a destination location.
“We wanted to avoid major towns and the complications of navigating your way around unknown one way systems, public car parks etc with small children in the car.
“The building was once the home to the Rudgwick Sports and Social Club, which sadly closed to the community 18 months ago, so our goal was for the building to re-open and continue to offer a fun and friendly family environment that the local community would still benefit from.
“There is also a separate café called the Apple Tree Café opening late February, which is directly next door to Little Street, where all our customers and the local community can have a light meal, drink, snack, cake, ice cream whilst enjoying the in and outside space of the King George V Playing fields.”
The franchise has been operating since 2014 and was the UK’s first dedicated role play centre for under sevens.
Rudgwick is the location of a second Little Street in Sussex, with a centre already open in Chichester which features a café, theatre, beauty salon, supermarket, construction site, medical centre, a road area with ride-on vehicles, a large tractor, a post office and a barn.
Little Street operates using a pre-defined 90-minute play session at 9.30am, 11.30am, 1.30pm and 3.30pm, seven days a week.
Numbers attending each session are kept ‘little’ and at the end of each play period, the team take the time and care to restore Little Street back to its original state so that the next group of children will enjoy the ‘wow’ factor.
Rebecca said: “The experience offers children so many educational benefits, through role play children expand their understanding of themselves and others, it helps them to develop language skills and discover leadership ability.
“By encouraging social interaction and problem solving enables children to gain confidence.”
Little Street has won various awards including the South East Rising Star Award in the ‘National Family Business Awards 2018’, Muddy Stilettos Best Family Attraction 2018 Award and ‘What’s on 4 Junior 2016’ awards for Best New Activity for Children and Highly Commended Best Local Activity for Under fives.
There are also centres in Maidstone, Frimley and West Byfleet.