A miniature world with everything from Grandma’s House to a museum, police station, café and hairdressers is set to open in Ramsgate town.
Little Seaside Town, based in the former pound shop in the High Street, features a child sized world that even includes an ice cream van, a construction site and a tree outside nan’s house. There will also be an ‘adult-sized’ cafe for parents and carers.
The fantastic seaside-themed creations are a family effort with mum Tracy Harris and daughters Jade and Leonie running the business and talented dad Tony creating all the sets.
Other family members and friends have pitched in for everything from plumbing to electrics and even the little ones have been drafted in for some painting!
Tracy, from Ramsgate, and mum-of-two Jade, from Minster, both have social care backgrounds while Leoni, 25, has worked in catering.
Jade, 29, said: “We always said we wanted to do something together. Leoni had been looking at a pretzel shop and then we were talking about what we could do and everything fell into place.
“My kids are getting to an age where you are looking for things to do and running out of ideas and you want somewhere safe.
“We are trying to have an educational stance in each of the sets which fits with the early years curriculum. So, the museum has information, there will be posters about not fearing the police and lots of role playing.”
The family are using a combination of personal savings and start up loans to get the venture up and ready and say they now just need to wait for the government covid-restrictions – still in place for soft play and similar venues – to be relaxed.
Leoni said: “When lockdown happened we stopped work for about two months but we are back now and probably could be open, if allowed, in around two weeks. We plan to be open for seven days a week.”
Multi-talented Tony, a mechanic by trade, has not only built the sets but will be working on the interior furnishings, including the upholstery.
Jade, whose little ones Delilah and Hallie have been busy trying out all the props, said: “We are waiting for the government advice. We want to get open but it has to be safe.”
A fogging machine will be used for cleaning using a non toxic mixture that is safe for all.
Hand-washing, social distancing and reduced sessions of three a day with a major clean in between each one will ensure covid-secure guidelines are followed.
Jade says: “We will do the deep clean and make sure everything is ready for the next session, putting pieces back in place, making sure grandma’s knickers aren’t left in the shop!
“We have also been using all local services, keeping it within Ramsgate, as it is important to all work together and support each other. The hairdressers has lots of real props from Pure Escapism as she is moving, so we have empty bottles and brushes and things.”
The family say although the mini town is mostly aimed at pre-school and four and five-year-olds there is not a cut off age, it is dependent on the individual child.
Leoni added: “We just can’t wait to see people coming in and enjoying themselves.”
Little Seaside Town is based at 21-23 High Street, Ramsgate.