Portable soft play area business launched by Coventry parents inspired by Covid pandemic

Out of darkness comes light.

That motto certainly rings true for an enterprising Coventry couple who have seen opportunity within a pandemic that has shifted the parameters for social engagements like never before.

« We have a three-year-old and during Covid we’ve missed out on things parents do to entertain a child, » Cara Healy tells CoventryLive.

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« It was the most delayed thing in terms of opening back up.

« We reached out to a supplier of portable soft play in the north of England.

« We then did some research and found there was nothing like that in our area.

« Nothing that would bring the play to your event rather than going out to it.

A portable soft play setting provided by Coventry based The Warwickshire Play Company

« We just thought it was a really nice idea to deliver soft play in your own environment, whether that’s at home or in a community hall, and to put people’s minds at ease. »

And so the concept for The Warwickshire Play Company was born.

The business, which has Cara, her husband Martin and their daughter Harper at its heart, launched on January 2 and the response from the general public has been « overwhelming ».

« It’s got people talking, » adds Cara. « People just find it a really good idea.

Martin and Cara Healy, founders of The Warwickshire Play Company, with their daughter Harper

« We’ve already had so many enquiries and we only launched three weeks ago. It’s very exciting! »

One particular area of demand has been from couple’s planning their big day; keen to set up something that will preoccupy kids while the parents party.

And, as you might expect from a family flowing with entrepreneurial spirit, they have acted on that interest.

They have booked into the National Wedding Fayre, at the Coventry Building Society Arena on February 18 and 19, to showcase the company’s wares.

One of the soft play settings provided by Coventry based The Warwickshire Play Company

« That will be our first wedding exhibition, » Cara, 31, says. « We have had a lot of enquiries about weddings and see them as a really important part of our business.

« We’d have loved one at our own wedding! »

Based just outside Tile Hill, the company has three different types of play setting for hire.

All have received the thumbs up from Harper who, Cara says, has struggled with the notion they’re not actually hers!

A role play setting provided by Coventry based The Warwickshire Play Company

There’s a small, lightweight baby set up with ball a pen, role play villages, including construction sites and supermarkets, and larger portable soft-play areas that are fully matted, set over two floors and complete with picket fencing and a gate, for added security.

Cara says: « A lot of people are enquiring about hire for the summer, but you can obviously put these set ups in your own home or in a local village hall.

« It’s a new and very modern way of play with Covid because a lot of parents are still very nervous (about the pandemic).

The play areas and all equipment are given a deep clean and are fully sterilised before they are sent back out to functions and the company has all the necessary insurance policies in place.

« It’s been a year in the making, » Cara says. « We’re making sure we’re a reputable business.

« We’re doing the right branding and taking our time to make sure we get everything right. »

The company, which Cara and 32-year-old Tim will run whilst juggling jobs at a Birmingham estate agency and Jaguar Land Rover, respectively, serviced its first event last week and has four more lined up this weekend.

Equipment for the construction site role play village provided by The Warwickshire Play Company

« The response has been overwhelming so far, » Cara says.

« We’re going to put everything into it to make it work. »

For more information, visit the company’s website, which goes live next week, at www.thewarwickshireplaycompany.co.uk

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