Tiny Town in Larkfield forced to close indoor play centre for good because of coronavirus

A popular soft play centre in Kent has closed.

The family who run Tiny Town in Larkfield say their dream has been destroyed, after being forced to close for good because it is impossible to keep going amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The opening of Tiny Town at Larkfield in 2010
The opening of Tiny Town at Larkfield in 2010

Former Apprentice contestant, Felipe Alviar-Baquero who owns the business says they have already reached out to other nearby soft play centres, to offer help.

Mr Alviar-Baquero, who starred in the 2014 series, said: “We need to work together for somebody in the soft play industry to survive. It is the forgotten industry.”

Soft play areas Wear ‘M’ Out in Maidstone and Tonbridge closed in September, as they were no longer financially viable.

In April, Mr Alviar-Baquero led six west Kent indoor play centres in asking the Government for urgent assistance.

Felipe Alviar-Baquero. Picture credit: BBC/Boundless/Jim Marks Photography
Felipe Alviar-Baquero. Picture credit: BBC/Boundless/Jim Marks Photography

The Sheldon Way business did receive a Government grant of £25,000 but it was nowhere near enough to stay afloat.

Once soft play centres were allowed to reopen in August, guidance issued by the industry body was difficult to stick to. For instance, Tiny Town staff had to clean the entire 10,000sqft after each booking.

When the rule of six was introduced as coronavirus cases rose, large parties were out of the question, which made it “impossible” to continue.

Mr Alviar-Baquero would not give an exact number of employees, as he said it varied on the season. He added the closure will also have a knock on effect on the many businesses they worked with. Tiny Town was originally created as a play space for disabled children.

He added: “I am sorry for the community, we were created for the community.”

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