Abbey Soft Play (*)

Abbey Soft Play

Abbey Soft Play is a unique and innovative project that has transformed a redundant public toilet block in Kelso into `Soft Play` facilities for children and their parents and carers. It opened for business in July 2000. 

The project has over 250 child members aged up to 8 years who benefit along with their parents, from all over the Borders. In its first year, it has also attracted over 200 visitors from outwith the area. Abbey Soft Play offers integrated opportunities for children with special needs by providing an accessible safe and welcoming facility structured to meet the needs of all children under 8 years old. Over 30% of members have special needs. Support and information is provided to parents and the local community.

One of the key objectives of the project is not only to develop communication skills and confidence but also to create a better understanding and acceptance of disability and the affect it has on families. In addition, participants in the initiative have developed further skills that include fundraising, project development, administration and legal structures and requirements, all necessary to run a successful business.

Abbey Soft Play is run as a social enterprise and generates 45% of its income through trading. The rest is generated through fundraising, membership fees and visitor donations. The project is now able to employ 4 staff on a part-time basis.

Following the success of this unique service in the Borders, Parent to Parent (Borders) is now hoping to develop further services that include a joint initiative with the Scottish Border Junior Ability Football Association (J.A.F.A.) to provide football coaching sessions specially adapted for children with special needs and inclusive of the whole family, allowing siblings and parents to participate which will be the first of its kind in Scotland.

For further information, contact:

Abbey Soft Play
PO Box 13412
The Knowes
Tel: 01573 – 228118