Indoor Family Fun Business Secures Expansion Loan

A Berkshire couple will be expanding their indoor play centre business with help from the Thames Valley Berkshire (TVB) Funding Escalator.

Jungle Mania, which already has a successful centre in Woodley, near Reading, as well as further owned and franchised centres around the UK, is looking to open a new facility in Slough, which will see an additional 25 jobs created in the next two years.

Over the past decade there has been an explosion in the soft play market. What started as a way to provide sensory stimulation to babies and children with special needs in hospitals and special school settings has now become a regular activity for families up and down the country.

In an age where sedentary lifestyles and related obesity within children is an increasing health issue, indoor play centres provide a fun setting for children to burn excess energy whilst providing their parents with the knowledge that they are doing so in a safe and secure environment.

Chris Coleman, who started the business in 2005 with wife and Managing Director Catherine, says: “Gone are the days where parents are happy to let their young children play on the streets outside their homes, so we offer an active alternative that is more fitting with modern day living. Our jungle themed, award winning play structures are fun and stimulating and our Treetops Café, as well as offering healthy meals and snacks, gives parents and carers a place to relax with a cup of fresh coffee.”

With a proven business model and a new site identified, Chris and Catherine turned to the TVB Expansion Loan Scheme to help with the extensive set-up costs for the Slough venture. They will also use some of the £200,000 loan to update the Woodley Jungle Mania.

Cheryl Weeks, Fund Manager at The FSE Group, which manages the TVB Expansion Loan Scheme on behalf of Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), comments: “Jungle Mania have developed a successful formula in the soft play market, which they are seeing replicated in the franchise activity. We are looking forward to supporting them through this development of the new site and are pleased to see new opportunities for employment being created.”

The TVB Expansion Loan Scheme is part of the TVB Funding Escalator, a £7.3m initiative funded by Thames Valley Berkshire LEP. The escalator, which also includes a commercialisation loan scheme and a growth equity fund, provides eligible companies with loans and equity funding between £50,000 and £200,000 for activities that will deliver high-growth and employment opportunities.

For more information about the TVB Funding Escalator please visit http://www.thefsegroup.com/thames-valley-berkshire-funding-escalator or contact Cheryl Weeks at cheryl.weeks@thefsegroup.com tel: 01276 607303.