A new concept for the UK in children’s entertainment called Eddie Catz launches in London on Putney High Street in mid-April, fulfilling the need for a family-oriented, up-market play space with an educational undertone and is aimed at families with children up to the age of 8.
Eddie Catz is the perfect urban solution for the modern British family: it combines an enriching experience for children who can play and learn in a safe and clean environment whilst offering parents some respite in the form of a grown-up space to chill out, read the newspaper and surf or have a meal.
“We have studied the US market, where the concept has already proven to be explosively successful, and tailored it for the UK to offer an up-market, high quality space designed to offer children a range of interesting and educational activities,” said Darren Johnson, co-founder and formerly with Cannons Healthclubs. “Healthclubs offer an excellent standard of comfort for adults that we have grown to expect. We are going to raise the bar in children’s entertainment.”
Eddie Catz has a themed climbing frame, a soft play area for toddlers, age-appropriate games of entertainment and learning, birthday parties, internet access for all ages, a Discovery Zone with a changing interactive educational exhibition and children’s courses and workshops.
“The idea came very simply from our quest to entertain our kids while enjoying some downtime,” said Maria Johnson, co-founder and former Management Consultant. “Initial research revealed a gap in the UK children’s play market for a high quality, clean and safe children’s play facilities with more than your standard playframe. The current indoor play market is a small and fragmented part of the leisure market. With the exception of pub sites, there are no major UK nationwide chains and the industry is dominated by single-site local operators who are familiar with their local markets.”
Currently in the UK, nearly a fifth of parents with children under 16 visit a play centre regularly. This proportion rises to a quarter among those with children aged under 4 years old, reflecting the fact that they have more time to fill up during the daytime with activities as they are pre-schoolers.
Mintel market investigations predict growth in the children’s indoor play market which was worth of about £106 million in 2001 with an approximate 36 million visits to play areas. In 2004, the spending reached £113 million. Leading leisure experts believe the industry will emulate the growth that health clubs had in the ‘90s.
The Eddie Catz team believe the children’s indoor play market is an emerging growth area for a number of reasons:
– Parents are seeking safe and secure environments for their children to play in;
– The expectation of parents to be in comfortable surroundings, but not be ostracised for having children needing to run off some steam
– An increased need for city children to play;
– The growing problem of the rise in obesity in children.
The first Eddie Catz site will be on Putney High Street and will be followed by other urban sites.