Kids have been hopping mad since the opening of a huge new trampoline centre in Kirkby, so we went to see if all the excitement is just jumped-up hype.
Who knew that bouncing around could change how young people look at exercise, but as an alternative to loitering in the park, or playing computer games, thousands of children in the area are hitting the springs after school.
“I know what you’re thinking and no, the staff don’t just spend every day bouncing around on the trampolines!” says manager Daniel Thompson, 28, as he gives employees a chance to show off their skills in the air.
“We let them have a go sometimes at the end of a shift, just to get it out of their system.”
Freestyle trampoline centre opened three weeks ago and in just a short time it is drawing a huge after-school crowd – at peak season they expect 1,500 people to come through each day.
Dan said: “The capacity is for 130 but we’ve been limiting numbers to 80 at a time because we want to be careful for the moment. You’ve got to jump before, you can flip.”
The manager 28, from Leicestershire has a background in leisure and then the building trade and joined the business as friend to owner, Thomas Shufflebottom, 31, from Draycott.
Thomas opened the business on top of running a number of snooker clubs in the area. He said: “The family business was in amusement arcades, and my uncle owned the pier in Portsmouth. This is the first one of these I’ve opened.
“We put a lot of work into it. It took months just to clear out the building.” The project to build the massive trampoline park, which fills a whole warehouse on Lowmoor Road, has cost a total of £1.8m, he said. Trampoline parks have become a beacon of hope for parents who are trying to get their kids to be more active. “I like to think people dump their children here to get them off the computer games. It’s hard to get them out doing things these days,” said Thomas.
And trampolining is also becoming a new fitness revolution as jump-based fitness landed in the UK two years ago, and is getting some serious air: the exciting activity can keep you occupied with different games – like bouncy-dodgeball and the gladiator ring, while burning up to 1,000 calories per hour.
And using the fitness element, co-manager Nathan Webber, 25, from Codnor is hoping to expand the love of jumping to adults as well.
“We want to start some high intensity, high impact fitness sessions similar to aerobic swimming, but land-based. Bouncing can be good because you can get a class feeling quite child-like and the instructors are really encouraging and animated.” Further than that, the centre can become a centre for sensory experiences for young children with learning difficulties.
“I used to work at a special educational needs school for three years, and I saw the benefits alternative exercises can have on them,” added Nathan.
Freestyle trampoline park will have a grand opening after Easter but is currently open to the public and is running a fifty per cent off deal until the end of the month.