Case Study - Little Bees, Leeds
After completing their first Soft Brick soft play facility in 2010, Emma & Georgina - joint owners of Little Bees - got in touch with us again when they were told by the local council that they would have to move premises. Although the reason for the move was beyond their control, the pair turned this potential hurdle into a great opportunity to expand their business.
Their original Little Bees play area was a great success and they had built up a significant and loyal customer base since 2010. They knew their customers loved the Little Bees product, so in turn extended their loyalty to Soft Brick and got in touch with us again when it came time to move. This savvy couple had always tended to focus on the younger end of the soft play market and knew this would help form the design brief for the new build going forward.
The hunt for a replacement building was on. More often than not, finding a suitable building of the correct size, price, with suitable parking and having the required 'Class E (used to be D2) Assembly and Leisure Usage' requires lengthy research and a bit of luck. Fortunately, Emma and Georgina got lucky and managed to find a new premises less than a mile from their original industrial unit. It was not only of a good size, but it was also in good condition and came with great enclosed parking. The building did however still need to have the 'Change of Use'. However after a formal application and a couple of months waiting they successfully achieved the 'D2 Assembly and Leisure Usage' required for indoor play! There were some relatively small, cosmetic works to carry out inside the building, such as removing a false ceiling and also removing a brick partition wall. They also had to build a provision for a kitchen and servery / reception area.
Since Emma and Georgina had successfully run a soft play area for 5 years already, they had an excellent idea of the play features and offerings they wanted to include. They were very keen to see how Soft Brick's soft play range had evolved since their original installation. In the time since 2010, we have of course developed and released our World of Play range - the biggest and most innovative range of indoor play product available on the market.
After an initial site survey and some detailed discussions we pulled together a brief which incorporated all the products and key features Emma & Georgina wanted for Little Bees 2. As mentioned above, Little Bees has always had a special catering for the younger age ranges and as such there was a request for a large baby area complete with a sensory enclosure; a large toddler area with role play area; a music zone; and finally a large main structure incorporating a football space and car track! Both Emma and Georgina loved some of the new products we had developed and were keen that these be included in the new design.
As a result our design team were set the challenge to design the play area so that it ticked as many boxes as possible from this rather lengthy wish list.
The great news was that our skilled design team were able to achieve pretty much everything on the brief. There were a few minor tweaks and a last minute decision to extend more of the main structure over the car track area - but nothing we couldn't achieve within the time frame! Each zone was carefully designed with the targeted age group in mind.
Examples of this include:
- The baby area has a high barrier around its perimeter to ensure the little ones are kept secure and to discourage older kids running through the area as a 'short-cut'
- The sensory space is fully enclosed to increase the impact of the amazing lighting effects
- The music zone is between age group zones so it can be easily accessed and used by all groups and budding musicians!
The play area is split into 3 main sections:
The main area (with Car Track):
The Toddler area (including Role Play & Music Zone):
The Baby area (including Sensory area):
The design caters for 139 children (292 per BSEN 1176), aged up to 10 years of age. The play area includes the following feature products:
Main Soft Play Structure
- Twin Lane Wavy Open Slide off 2m - ladybird theme
- 180 Tube Slide off 2m – bumble bee theme
- Double Aerial Glide with crocs and log theming
- Wobbly Character Trap with Rollers
- Dizzy Disc Area – Bizzy Bees theme
- Inclined Rope Bridge
- Webbing Crawl Tube
- Walk of Fear Polycarbonate Decks
- Gel Deck WOW Feature
- Role Play Area – Garage theme with Soft Play Formula 1 Car
- Role Play Area – Café theme with Wobbly Character Waiter
- Car Track Area with Car Wash Feature
- Sports Court with 3D goals, Beat the Goalie Game Tarp and Sports Court Flooring
Toddler Soft Play Structure
- Toddler Structure and Soft Play Area
- Toddler Board Slide into Small ‘Splash’ Ball Pool
- Hidey Hole Den
- Talking Tree WOW feature with themed leaf panels and nature sounds pressure pads
- Role Play Area – Police station with Wobbly Character Prisoner and jail bars!
- Role Play Area – Shop theme with Wobbly Character Shop Keeper, Soft Play Counter, Grocery and Sweet Kits.
- Music Zone with Piano and Drums
Toddler Soft Play Area
- Large Baby Area with netted surround & low level Kerb Walling entrance
- Soft Play Baby products, including Baby Ball Pool, Baby Activity Parc, Agility Kit, Rockers.
- Sensory Wall activities, including Bendy Mirror, Fuzzy Felts, Contrasting Sensory Panel, Matching Shapes Panel
- Separate enclosed Sensory Area with Sensory Ball Pool and Mirror Infinity Panel
“After using Soft Brick for the original Little Bees, we knew exactly how good the design, the product and the level of service was - so had no hesitation in using them again for Little Bees 2!”
So that's just some of the products included in the design, let's have a look at how we themed these products to suit the nature theme, whilst incorporating their bee characters:
The Completed Build
We are sure you will agree from the pictures above that the play area looks absolutely fantastic! Everything from the colour scheme, theming and how we have incorporated the mix of product looks outstanding. We are so pleased with the end result and are sure that it will prove to build on the success of the original Little Bees.
Feel free to navigate around the system above, but if you'd like to see it in person please see http://littlebeesplay.co.uk for more information!
Everyone at Soft Brick would like to wish the team at Little Bees all the very best of luck with the new play area for 2016!