How Sutton and Huthwaite based business has been keeping kids entertained for free during pandemic

A Sutton and Huthwaite based children’s entertainment business has been helping lift the spirits of youngsters at home during the pandemic.

Thursday, 4th March 2021, 7:00 am

Business partners Janine Ryde, from Jacksdale and Christopher Buck, from Heanor, run two children’s soft play centres Funtimez Jimmy Beans on Coxmoor Road, Sutton and Funtimes Bizzy Beans, at the John Davies Workshops, Huthwaite.

The pair had been running the centres for five months before the first lockdown hit last March. They had also been run a successful children’s entertainment business, with parties, characters and themed events during the previous five years.

Unable to do their usual work due to the virus, they started organising online entertainment free for children including zoom parties, discos and games, and attracted at times as many as 100 youngsters watching their interactive shows.

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Joseph Evans aged 4 enjoys a dance

Janine, who is a mum of two teenage children, said: “We are both from a children’s entertainment background. Running the shows has been great, we send out a free code for people to log in and the children enjoy joining in playing the interactive games, disco dancing, songs and music.

"It was not only good for children to have something fun, it has also helped keep us sane. We’d worked so hard, invested a lot in our businesses, then the pandemic hit.”

Janine added: “The soft play centre was popular before lockdown. We hope we can open on May 17. It’s far off yet, and with restrictions, we are not sure what that will be, but I can’t to wait to reopen.”

Joseph Evans aged 4 enjoying the show

Last Easter, the pair toured Jacksdale on the back of a truck, with an Easter bunny theme, throwing sweets to children on their doorsteps. They have also done online shows for schools including one for Alfreton Park Community Special School, tomorrow Thursday.

Sutton mum Emma Evans, a community care officer, said: “My children Joseph, four, and Rosie, one, watch the shows, especially Joseph, he loves jumping and dancing. It has been tough for the children during lockdown, it’s lifted their spirits. There is only so many times you can walk round the park.

"It’s been hard on Jimmy Beans not being able to run their business but they have done this free for the community which is brilliant, they deserve some credit.”