A Maternity Experience During Covid

Raising a child is challenging as it is, let alone in the midst of a global pandemic! COVID 19 has had a huge impact on society as we know it, with many sectors struggling heavily over the past two years. But nothing has been affected as heavily as our NHS and social care services. Combating the pandemic put tremendous strain on the NHS affecting all of its services including the maternity care. This is something that our centre manager Amiileigh has experienced first hand. Today we want to share her story with you and the positive outcomes that she brings from it.
Amiileigh, a mother of three was planning her baby number four just as we were put in to our second lockdown! To then find out she was expecting twins were a scary prospect. Amiileigh found her pregnancy extremely challenging as the usual support networks, prenatal classes and expectant classes were understandably closed to minimise any risks to the communities. Her partner was not allowed to the scans, or her hospital or midwife appointments, and following on from her caesarean section in May of 2021 he was asked to leave with only a two hour visit daily at the hospital to protect the vulnerable.
Amiileigh says that “after what felt like an incredibly lonely journey in my pregnancy, I didn’t expect the post natal care I received to feel solitary too, being isolated at home with less visits than I’d previously had and my local baby groups closed was a tough time”
As many new parents will be aware a lot of the checks up are now over the phone to minimise face to face contact. This also includes vital milestone checkups for babies, meaning weightings and such are nonexistent. The NHS does provide a text messaging service for information and advice which Amiileigh feels “is fantastic to offer for any worries she has but lacks the sense of security and reassurance you get when you know the professionals are seeing your baby”
Research has shown that post natal depression has risen from 2019 from 23% to 47.5% and Amiileigh believes all that she has experience firsthand has had a role in this. “Fortunately I know what to look out for not only in myself but my children, however I can’t begin to imagine how anxious it must feel as first time parent” she states.
Amiileigh returned to work from her maternity leave in November, her experience over her leave allowed her to want to make a change and open up our doors here at 360 Play to support local parents. 360 Play is a recognised and well loved family attraction centre within our community making it the perfect place for parents and carers to come long and socialise with each other, forming new friendships and sharing experiences. We are also proud of all of our hard working from all of our team in keeping our centre Covid Secure and having the go ahead from Visit England to remain open.

Christmas Packages to Book Now

Looking to bring a group to us for a get-together before Christmas? Why not book one of our Christmas group bookings for a simple, fun way of meeting up. With a minimum of only 10 children and all supervising adults free, this is a great cost effective option to spend some quality time together.
Valid for registered groups, schools and charities only. For personal meet ups check out our Host-less Parties. We’ve made it easy for you to book online now…

Have a cracking time together as family with one of our Christmas Cracker family tickets. Play all day for four people with 2 pizzas and any 4 drinks, all for one price of £49.99. Meet up with friends and have a great hassle free day out before Christmas. Book now

360 Play Town welcomed Local MP Rachel Maclean on Friday for some Learning and Play

360 Play Town welcomed Local MP Rachel Maclean on Friday for some Learning and Play.  “After such a challenging last 18 months it was so great to get the support of Rachel Maclean this week.  Having spent most of the last 18 months closed or only partially operational it’s great to be now welcoming local families back to experience play without screens.  Our hands-on role-play street was a great hit with Rachel as she saw first hand the value of the setting where children and parents can play freely together.  We are so pleased to see many faces back using us again, along with many new lockdown parents discovering how valuable climbing, sliding and role playing with our young ones really is.”

Founder and Managing Director, Duncan Phillips

Discounted entry this autumn after 360 Play joins nationwide National Lottery Days Out campaign

Discounted entry this autumn for visitors to 360 Play who will be able to redeem a voucher on admission thanks to its participation in a new National Lottery Days Out campaign with VisitBritain, the national tourism agency.

National Lottery players who purchase a Lotto ticket from this October, will be able to redeem a voucher against entry tickets to hundreds of tourist attractions and experiences across the UK including 360 Play. The voucher code can be redeemed through the VisitBritain Shop at NationalLotteryDaysOut.com.

Halloween booking is now open

Halloween tickets can now be purchased for Sunday 31st October 2021.

With 360 Street Trick or Treating, carving your free pumpkin in the Pumpkin Patch and lots of spooky themed games, this will be an event for the whole family to enjoy.

Pass holders can get discounted tickets by calling their local centre or central bookings.

New outdoor area for Rushden Lakes Centre

The newest addition to 360 play Rushden lakes complements the existing indoor offerings combining rides, attractions and role play in one location at one price.  360 Play, like many has seen long closure during the pandemic and this latest addition to the attraction is aimed at providing wider choice and the ability to play outside as well as in.

Centre manager Lauren Jenkins:

“It’s great to be opening our newest attraction at 360 Play Rushden Lakes just in time for the summer holidays.  The new addition has been built over the last 2 months and involves climb towers slides, rope bridges and lots of sand play too.  This new area gives families the ability to play inside and out as we see the sun finally come out. “

We have also upgraded the sand play at our other sites with outdoor areas in Basildon, Milton Keynes, Leicester and Stevenage. Visit any of our sites with your play pass or membership.

 

 

The Holiday Activity and Food programme

360 Play is proud to be supporting the government’s HAF scheme at our Milton Keynes, Rushden Lakes and Redditch centres, to provide activities and food to families with children receiving free school meals to help see them through the long summer holidays.

As a result of this programme, children who have attended this provision should:

  • eat more healthily over the school holidays
  • be more active during the school holidays
  • take part in engaging and enriching activities which support the development of resilience, character and wellbeing along with their wider educational attainment
  • be safe and not to be socially isolated
  • have a greater knowledge of health and nutrition
  • be more engaged with school and other local services

We have hosted many families so far and are looking forward to meeting more over the next few weeks.

This comment is from a HAF visitor:

“I just wanted to pass on some feedback from our visit today. 

After arriving and realising I hadn’t remembered my mobile phone (containing the booking info) I approached the entrance desk where the girl working happily greeted me, I explained the details, the haf programme, our emails etc. After she followed protocol a manager was called and my issue was dealt with extremely well, even though I’m sure I didn’t arrive in the best of moods. 

These two women in particular but not forgetting your entire team at Rushden lakes, were exemplary. 

They were courteous, patient and professional. 

The food and play areas were well kept, clean and sanitised, providing reassurance as we introduce ourselves back into socialising. 

The food went down very well and even though I wasn’t expecting the food ticket, I can say it was a very welcome gift. 

Thank you for a lovely trip out, it was exactly what we needed. Lots of smiles from the kids too! 

The play centre itself is very impressive and we are already planning another trip back! 

You should be proud of the team down at Rushden lakes, they’re doing a really great job! “

Milton Keynes MPs Encourage Nominations For Free Tickets To 360 Play As Part Of Young Minds Campaign

Milton Keynes MPs, Ben Everitt and Iain Stewart, have encouraged people to nominate deserving families in MK to receive free tickets to 360 Play.

360 Play’s founder Duncan Phillips has pledged £60,000 worth of tickets for children and families who have struggled during lockdown as part of the business’ Young Minds Campaign.

And after visiting the centre on Friday to see the positive impact re-opening was having on hundreds of families across MK, Ben and Iain are encouraging people to nominate family, friends and colleagues to win free tickets.

There are many reasons a person can nominate someone to receive free tickets to 360 Play. From children not seeing a parent as much due to them being a frontline worker to a child going above and beyond to help others, the main theme is that they could really use with a fun and much-needed experience at 360 Play.

Ben Everitt, the MP for Milton Keynes North, commented:

“This is such a wonderful offer from 360 Play who have seen the impact lockdowns have had on children and families across the country and are doing their bit to help out.

“It was lovely to see so many families back out enjoying themselves in a COVID-safe way at 360 Play so if you know anybody who would really benefit from tickets please do nominate them and help boost mental wellbeing across Milton Keynes.”

Iain Stewart, the MP for Milton Keynes South, said:

“The children of Milton Keynes have had a really difficult time during the coronavirus pandemic and that is why I am championing the Young Minds Campaign by 360 Play. 

“By allowing people to nominate families and children who have experienced a tough time to receive free tickets to 360 Play, it will give children the long-awaited opportunity to create childhood memories and be children again!

“If you know of a family or children that could do with a visit to 360 Play, I encourage you to nominate them.”

Duncan Phillips, founder of 360 Play, added:

“I am passionate that it’s now we need to get our children out from home lockdowns and start playing together with others in safe and creative settings that will help re introduce them to social interaction off screens.  Through our Young Minds Campaign if we can reach out and give just one family some help right now it will have been a success.  That’s why I am so proud to play our part reaching out to thousands of families who may not have the ability to access our sites to come along as or guests and play again in active and open settings, I look forward to hearing our centres full of play and laughter again.” 

 You can nominate somebody you think is deserving of free tickets to 360 Play here: Nominate here

 

360 Play re-opens to welcome local families for some safe smiles

May the 17th was a happy day at 360 Play’s centres for customers and staff.  This leading leisure attraction group closed its doors along with the rest of the country’s hospitality businesses back in December last year, with the hope it would only be a few weeks before they could reopen.  Five months later and in line with stage 3 of the road map, 360 Play finally got to welcome back many local families for some well overdue fun and play. 

“The coronavirus has had deep and wide impacts on our city, our families and many of the local businesses that serve them.  Some of the most impacted and yet least talked about are our children.  As a father of two boys I have seen some of the impacts this latest lockdown has had on them which is why I am so pleased we can open up our attraction for local families to be able to come and enjoy some play time without screens”  Founder and Managing Director Duncan Phillips.

Maureen, grandmother to Reece and Fay, was visiting Rushden Lakes’ centre and said  “Its amazing to be back and able to spend some quality playtime with my grandchildren in the safe clean environment that 360 Play gives us. The kids adore it here and it makes for an easy day out”

360 Centre Manager Lauren Jenkins said “The second lock down has been very hard on many of our staff and so we are really pleased to be able to get back to doing what we love here at 360, and hopefully put some smiles back on our customers faces.  We will keep in place our covid safe operating procedures and be limiting numbers while we steadily emerge from the latest lockdown. I have been with 360 Play for 5 years now and have really missed seeing the centre full of life over the last few months, so I and all the team are loving the noise our first customers are making with us today.”

360 Play was founded over 10 years ago and now has seven play centres across the South East and South Midlands.  Founder Duncan Phillips started the business to give families like his own a place where they could all play together.  Utilising hands on creative play environments, physically active play settings and skills based play attractions, the centre encourages intergenerational active play in a more traditional way, encouraging adults to spend time playing with their children and having fun too.    

360 Play Young Minds Campaign

360 Play’s ‘Young Minds Campaign’ aims to support children and families across our communities who have been isolated throughout the pandemic, those who have lost jobs, those who have been sick or those who have struggled to cope and need a helping hand back to normality. Passionate dad, owner and founder Duncan Phillips has pledged over £60,000 worth of tickets for children and families who have struggled through lockdown, for 360 Play centres across the country. 

“As a father of two boys through lockdown and passionate about giving children the best start in life, the pandemic has had a significant impact on the younger members of our society.  Unfortunately we may only see the impacts when the world does start to return to normal, but the warning signs are very clear to see.”  Duncan Phillips – Founder and Managing Director

NOMINATIONS HAVE NOW FINISHED

We have closely followed the child health experts throughout the pandemic and considered where we could have an impact to help our children.

Prof Russell Viner, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, addressing MPs on the Education Select Committee earlier this year: “When we close schools we close their lives, the pandemic has caused a range of harms to children across the board from being isolated and lonely to suffering from sleep problems and reduced physical activity.”

Dr Kathryn Lester, senior lecturer in Developmental Psychology at the University of Sussex, writes that: “The importance of play for children’s wellbeing is still all too easily overlooked, and sadly even more so in the midst of a global pandemic.”

The Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health. “While posing a lower risk of physical health problems for children, Covid-19 has transformed the social lives of children more rapidly than anyone could have imagined” 

We have also watched our own families struggle through lock down and missing their peers.

“I am passionate that it’s now we need to get our children out from home lockdowns and start playing together with others in safe and creative settings that will help re-introduce them to social interaction off screens.  Through our Young Minds Campaign if we can reach out and give just one family some help right now it will have been a success.  That’s why I am so proud to play our part reaching out to thousands of families who may not have the ability to access our sites to come along as our guests and play again in active and open settings.“  Duncan Phillips 

In this campaign we are reaching out to our local communities to help find out who really need a day of carefree family fun. It’s more important now than ever that we look after our youngest generation and their developing minds.  If you know someone in your community who would benefit from this we need you to nominate them.   

For the first 30 days of 360 Play reopening, in stage three of the roadmap, we will be gifting over 50 tickets daily to the most deserving families in our communities. Friends, families, local charities or CAHMs teams can nominate families who they consider would benefit from a play date together.

Our children have struggled with isolation throughout the pandemic, all their usual social interaction with family and friends that shapes who they are has gone. Parents have been working from home whilst home schooling and providing childcare. Babies have been born who have never met or had interaction with other babies or adults.

Research shows that the formative years are intrinsically important to a child’s development and that the role of play is vital for both psychological and physical growth.

Alison Morton – Head of The Institute of Health Visiting says services have been badly hit during the pandemic with specialist nurses pulled away from their duties to help out on the Covid front line. In some areas, health visitor numbers have dropped by half. Meanwhile, the absence of baby and parent groups, and the friendships that naturally develop from them, has meant the babies of the pandemic have not benefited from the stimulus of social contact that is vital to their development.

For the majority of the school aged children all of their home schooling activities and hobbies have been through screens on their televisions, iPads and computers. Screens have been used (understandably so) as virtual baby sitters for younger children so parents can continue to work and we all feel the frustration of daily Zoom calls!

The 360 Play Young Minds Campaign has been created by Duncan with the support of his management teams across our centres and the backing of local MPs, children’s mental health charities, local businesses and more. 

A few words from some of our team members:

“The young minds campaign is something I am so proud to be part of,  I’ve seen firsthand the relief on the children and their families faces as they run through the door. It’s never been more important that we take the time to look after the young minds in our community. I saw it personally in my own family. As my little brother is autistic the time inside preventing him from socialising made him take a back step. He did not want to leave the house even to see his friends and family. He came to 360 post the second lockdown and you could see the tension drop from his shoulders as he ran through the play frame and just really enjoyed himself. The same for my mum as she sat down, enjoyed a coffee and watched. There are so many children who will have despite all efforts, been affected by this lockdown and it’s important that all of us are doing our part in supporting families through the return to normal. It truly takes a village and I’m proud 360 is a part of that.” 

Chloe Twiselton – Centre Manager 360 Play Milton Keynes

“As a mum myself who has spent the most part of the last year self isolating at home with my children, struggling at the most part to be the best pretend teacher I could be, the Young Minds Campaign is such an honour to be part of to bring happiness back to all the children and their families. The children who have been home schooled, missed out on the socialising and the lockdown babies who haven’t had the chance to experience such fun yet deserve an amazing day out to enjoy being kids again.”    

Amiileigh Boules – Centre Manager 360 Play Leicester 

“As a parent of two children and also a centre manager at 360 Play, I’ve seen first hand how crucial it is for children to be able to play freely in a setting where they can use their imagination and creativity, burn off energy and to interact with children of their own age. 

The 360 Play Young Minds Campaign is a huge project where I can help pioneer this belief and be a part of giving back to not only parents, but to children who’ve had a hard time adapting to life in lockdown. 

My team and I are so eager to get back to what we do best, and start to put a smile back on the faces of our local community” 

James Hack – Centre Manager 360 Play Basildon.

And a customer telling 360 Play how important our role will be in the coming months after lockdown;

”My son is autistic and has struggled coming in and out of lockdowns with some anxiety and social skills. He has become quite withdrawn and will avoid playing alongside people he doesn’t know well or going out at all.  He is much more content at home now. I know it’s important that he socialises, but I was worried how I would encourage him to do so. I brought him to 360 post the second lockdown after watching the safety video online. He loved every minute and so did I.  Well distanced, clean as always and an enjoyable atmosphere. My son interacted with staff and other children from a distance. I spoke to other mums across the distanced tables, and I watched my son completely relax and smile so much. We were both anxious when we came in, but we left with a new lease of life. Thank you for this piece of normal and what will hopefully be an early night!”  

Claire Hatch – Parent to a 10 year old boy.