Popular Tring soft play cafe will not re-open its doors

But the owner is looking for a new venue

Friday, 14th August 2020, 11:25 am

The Doodle Caboodle Cafe and Play in Tring will not be re-opening its doors after months of closure during the pandemic.

The soft play venue closed its doors at the end of March when the Government told businesses to close to stop the spread of coronavirus.

But, as other venues started to re-open - including pubs, restaurants, swimming pools and gyms - soft play venues were left behind.

Sonya outside The Doodle Caboodle Cafe & Play (C) Image Bliss Photography.

The Government announced last night (Thursday) that soft play venues will be included as the latest restrictions are eased on Saturday, August 15, but that is too late for The Doodle Caboodle Cafe and Play.

Owner Sonya Aris announced this week that the business, which opened in 2017, will not be re-opening at its current venue, but she is hoping to find a new location.

The Doodle Caboodle Cafe and Play offers a small and friendly environment for families to visit and let their little ones work off some energy whilst parents have a much needed sit down.

Owner Sonya Aris, said: "The indoor soft play industry is in massive trouble.

A party at The Doodle Caboodle Cafe & Play, (C) Zoe C photography

"It’s estimated that up to 60% of venues will not re-open which means thousands of people will lose their jobs and business owners will experience massive financial losses.

"The Government has not offered any financial assistance to businesses that have been forced to stay closed for much longer that the initial few weeks covered by the Local Authority Grants.

"For Tring, losing Doodle Caboodle is a massive loss to the community.

"You only have to look at the 2,500 signature petition that was signed last year to make sure the Change of Use was granted, or look at the comments we have been receiving on social media since announcing the closure.

"The cafe wasn’t opened to be a big money maker, it was borne out of a need in the community.

"When my children were really little, I would have loved to have somewhere like this is take them and meet my friends.

"The only soft play around at that time were the bigger places that were aimed at older children so it wasn’t the safest or cleanest to take little ones.

"The amount of people that have messaged me directly to say that Doodle Caboodle offered a ‘safe haven for me and my energetic child’ or ‘you saved my sanity when I was about to break’ or ‘you were the first place I felt comfortable enough to breastfeed outside my home.’

"It is going to be a massive loss to the local community, particularly as there is nothing else like it in the local area and Children’s Centres have been closed all over the place."

But, Sonya has said that if they can find a new location they will be able to re-open.

She added: "We need to find a new location.

"We need to be able to continue to provide this much needed service to the community.

"We need parking and outside space and above all, we need help and support from our local council and organisations like you with a voice in order to achieve this.

"It created a number of new jobs and provided a much needed and popular service.

"I made absolutely no money out of the business but it was my passion, fuelled by the amazing feedback, smiles and lots of happy children. Families need us."

If you can help find The Doodle Caboodle Cafe and Play a new home, email: [email protected] or visit: www.doodlecaboodle.co.uk.