Norfolk bouncy castle hire firm shuts after 11 years
PUBLISHED: 08:14 29 September 2020 | UPDATED: 08:25 29 September 2020
A bouncy castle and soft play business that operated all over Norfolk has closed down after 11 years.
Dereham Castles and Soft Play, which Lorraine, 49, and Colin Neale, 48, have operated from their home in the town, has now shut.
Mrs Neale said the pandemic played a role, but the closure was due to a combination of factors.
She said: “My husband has been ill and we have also had a family bereavement.
“Covid has taken its toll on the business, and with the Rule of Six you can’t do indoor hires, so financially it didn’t make sense.
“We can’t say that it was entirely Covid that forced us to close but with health considerations, it wasn’t worth continuing to trade.”
The business hired out bouncy castles and soft play areas to fetes, weddings, christenings and other events all over Norfolk, at one time having up to 20 bouncy castles.
By the end they were focusing on the Dereham and north Norfolk areas and had about 10 castles, and the equipment is all now being sold off.
Mrs Neale said: “We started it originally because we hired out some equipment we felt was not quite safe. My daughter and I had both trained in the nursery side of things and wanted something safe and hygienic for the under fives to play with.”
She said they had always been proud of how hygienic their equipment was - cleaning every piece after use.
Mrs Neale said family and age were other factors in the closure.
She said: “It can be quite physically demanding on your body - most of the people doing it are in their 20s and 30s, so we were at the older end of that. There’s also the fact you have to give up your weekends when everyone else is having fun. We have daughters aged 16 and 18 and the lockdown made us realise how much family time we’ve missed.
“It’s a shame because everybody said we were good at what we did but it was time.”
Mrs Neale said she and her husband had also become two of Norfolk’s first safety inspectors for the body PIPA Inflatable Play Inspection, a role they had carried out for the past eight years.
She added: “We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our past customers and it has been our pleasure to help make many happy memories for families.”
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