It’s all childs play for Kerry and Sophie

Sophie McNeill and Kerry Waddell owners of 'Pocketful' in Eyemouth.
Sophie McNeill and Kerry Waddell owners of 'Pocketful' in Eyemouth.

HAVING known each other for a decade and having experience of kids as a mum and an auntie, a dicussion amongst friends has led to two Eyemouth women opening a new children’s activity centre in Eyemouth.

Opening its doors just in time for half term, Pocketful Kids, on Harbour Road, is the brainchild of Kerry Waddell and Sophie McNeill who first came up with the idea after both finding themselves wanting a different kind of career.

“We were just to having a little chat about what our options were in the area and how we didn’t want to travel too far for work,” Kerry told ‘The Berwickshire News’ earlier this week.

“It was actually on a girls night out that the idea of a new place for kids in the town came up,” Sophie, who’s previously worked for Save The Children and been a nanny and teaching assistant, added.

“Originally we thought of it as purely retail venture- selling children’s toys, party accessories etc but after doing some market research last summer we found out that people wanted something a bit different.

“When it comes to children’s activities in Eyemouth you’ve only really got the swimming pool and the small ten pin bowling place and the questionnaires we got back from people in Ayton, Coldingham, Reston and even Berwick, as well as those in the town, suggested there was a gap in the market for a place where kids could come and have fun but wouldn’t cost the earth.

“Obviously we don’t want to take anything away from the local nurseries, but feel feel we are an additional option rather than competition,” Kerry explained.”

“We really want to link with them and the primary school have been really supportive by helping us out with some chairs while we wait for ours to arrive.”

Although it was parents’ opinion which Kerry and Sophie initially sought, now they are up and running, they are really keen to get feedback from the people actually using their facility.- the kids themselves. We’ve only been open a few days but we’ve had quite a few kids in so far,” Sophie continued.

“A couple have cried when they’ve had to go home which is a good sign for us I guess!”

Kerry added: “We’ve got a comments book that the children and their parents can fill in- we’ve been asking the children to draw a picture to describe how being here made them felt.

“It’s important we listen to them as if they don’t enjoy themselves here they won’t come back.

Pocketful Kids is open to toddlers-12 year olds with term time activities being tailored to certain age groups i.e 0-3 year olds, 3-5 year olds, 5-7 years olds 8+.

And on Tuesday there should have been no shortage of Valentine’s gifts in Eyemouth as youngsters who visited Pocketful Kids put their arts and crafts skills to the test.

“We’re really keen to have themes to our activities and this past week we’ve been making Valentines-related things,” Sophie said.

“We’re then going to move onto friendship and what it means to children. I’ve got two boys myself so I get an idea of what children like and what they’re familiar with by what they bring home from school.

“We’re expecting that sometimes all children will want from us is somewhere where they can come in and play co-ordinated games,” Kerry added.

“It can also be used for messy play if parents aren’t keen for children to mess about with paint at home and dressing up.”

Right from coming up with the initial proposal for Pocketful Kids to its grand opening, Kerry and Sophie received support from Scottish Borders Council and Business Gateway.

To keep updated with the latest opening times, what’s going on at Pocketful Kids, or book a party, search for them on Facebook and Twitter or visit www.pocketfulkids.co.uk.