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Tots are having a ball as fun site reopens
AN ACTIVITY playground company is investing £450,000 to revamp an Oxford indoor play area that closed suddenly.
The Partyman Group has taken on the lease of the former iKidz unit, which closed in January, and plans to eventually open a laser arena and registered day nursery, creating 20 jobs.
Eight former iKidz staff have already been taken on and the company is looking for an additional 10 people to work at the indoor playground.
Partyman World of Play opened to families at the Ozone Leisure Park by the Kassam Stadium on February 15.
Executive director of the Partyman Group, Aaron Othman, said: “As a company based around Essex and the Home Counties this opportunity came up and we grabbed it. “Since opening our doors we have had such great feedback from the really lovely customers in Oxford.
“We are asking them what we can improve. We want to make sure they have a great value day out with their children.”
The Oxford Mail reported in January that parents were distraught when iKidz closed after two years as it was the only soft play area in the city.
Abingdon mum-of-one Nicci Goddard took her three-year-old son Charlie to the playground.
After hearing of the reopening the 34-year-old said: “It is absolutely great news and I am glad it has only been shut for a short time. Over the next few weeks we will definitely go down there.”
Abingdon mother-of-two Laura Becker, 38, said: “I am pleased, we definitely need this facility.”
The company plans to add electric karts to the play area – which is being painted and getting new safety flooring – as well as a ‘jelly mountain’ bouncy castle.
The laser arena, which will be built on the unit’s first floor in the next six weeks, will cater for up to 40 players aged six upwards.
Mr Othman added: “We are on a great leisure site for children and the laser arena will really complement that.”
Ground floor offices will be turned into a day nursery, which it is hoped it will be ready in time for September. There will be places for 60 children.
Mr Othman said: “We have childcare-qualified staff and it will be Ofsted-registered. We open from Monday to Friday, 7am-7pm.”
Naamoun Alsahli took his three-year-old daughter Rand Alsahli to Partyman World of Play on Tuesday. The 35-year-old from Cowley said: “I prefer to have the play area open all the time – it is one of the places I take my daughter. “She loves it. It is needed.” It is the company’s fourth World of Play, with other branches in Basildon, Lakeside and Wembley.