Our story – Why we set up
Well this is our blog, up and running, in the hope that we can communicate a little bit about what Eden Soft Play is about, what we’re doing and why. This explanation is important because we aren’t just a Soft Play Café; we’re also a social enterprise, working for the good of the people of Nottingham.
Our first three blog posts are about the story of our family café, why we started, how it’s gone so far and the challenges we face as a charitable business.
In 2011, Saviours Church was given the vision for a child friendly café in the Meadows. We had a look around and asked local people, soon discovering that an indoor space for families to come together didn’t exist locally. As a church which holds community as a priority, the Eden play centre vision seemed like a good response to this problem. The beauty of a social enterprise, rather than a funded project is that it is financially sustainable, not relying on long term funding, but for this to be the case for Eden, we would need the support of the whole city, and so we set out to make our play centre the best in Nottingham! We also set out with a number of other aims, for example employing local people and releasing them into their life dreams. We placed healthy eating as a priority, which is why all of our meals come with a 5-a-day portion. The biggest outcome though, is that all our profit will go into investing in further projects for the community. While some of these aims help our bottom-line profitability, some of them present challenges, but these are good challenges!
We operate on the hope that when people make spending decisions, they base it on more than just who does the best soft play parties, or has the best soft play area (both Eden by the way!), but also on the social good each business is trying to achieve. We hope that as Eden is favoured by customers who believe EVERY industry can be GOOD, other soft play centre managers catch on and change their ways. Who knows, maybe one day every UK Soft Play will have made it a priority to work for the general good!
Next time I’ll be giving the story of the first 18 months of our project.