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Little Play Town is Closing

We are so sad to say that Little Play Town is being closed down by the Council. We would like to thank every adult, baby and child that came to Little Play Town. I’ve loved seeing your reaction when you come in. All the wows! And the smiles, all the fun, the learning and the experiences that the kids and adults had. Creating Little Play Town was a dream come true and I’m forever grateful for every happy moment I’ve seen and every kind word to said to me. Thank you for sharing the Little Play Town experience with me and all the staff. I’ve tried to make every person feel welcomed and included and I’ve met some wonderful people, both big and little!

Sadly, our neighbours from downstairs reported us to the Council as soon as Little Play Town opened and have been campaigning to shut us down ever since we started. It has come to light after working diligently with the Council that the building has foundational issues and although we have tried every sound proof solution currently available in the U.K., we can not fix the foundations of the building. And as we can’t fix it, the landlord is evicting us to pre-empt any problems for himself.

We would like everyone to know that we had no idea that the building would provide issues when we signed the lease and we never had any intention to make a noise and upset anyone. The Council gave us a D2 recreational lease for a nursery. We do not make any noise that you would not expect from any child, baby or adult at any nursery across the U.K. and we did not at this point receive any objections from the 2 downstairs neighbours during our application. All parties knew exactly what we were going to do. We’ve been working every day for over a year to rectify the problems that the neighbours have subsequently had, but frustratingly the Council has turned down the planning application to put steel plates and pavement slabs in the building make the foundation stronger, so that it will be able to hold the very heavy soundproof floors which weigh 100kg per square meter. It’s a beautiful old listed building – the light is stunning and the first time I walked in I could imagine how lovely it would be to have a role play facility for little ones in the area and what a special place it would be for the children to enjoy.

We were completely unaware that and when anyone walks on the floors the noise could be heard below, especially when the building had previously been used as an office. We feel we have been treated very unfairly by some of those opposed to our business; we passed two professional sound testing tests and we are within normal limits for residential and commercial building regulations using our current padding solutions we have in place at present. But due to continual campaigning the Council have decided that these professional tests are not good enough. We feel it’s unfair that we pass testing but we are still not allowed to stay open due to opposition by vociferous individuals who are prominent in the community.

There is still one solution available that can save Little Play Town, and that’s to put a suspended ceiling in the gift store below. Structural engineers have been working closely with us in the past year: this solution can be put into place in 4 days and then the noise is gone. And we will pay for it all for the sake of continuing our special Little Play Town. We needed the approval for this situation from the gift store below, as this the only way to fix the building. But the individual in charge is refusing. And although the individual in question knows that we will be closed down and lose all our savings of 85K which will have a terrible impact upon our family, she has said in every meeting to us and the council that ‘it’s not her problem.’ We always wanted an amicable, mutually supportive relationship with our neighbours, but we feel they have been set against us from the start and just want us out whatever we do.

The final straw happened this week, when we emailed the gift store, the coffee shop owners, the Council and the landlord. We wanted to say that we have a party this Saturday with kids with disabilities, and that some noise might occur. We wanted to do the right thing and tell them as we didn’t want another complaint from the owners to the Council on Monday, so we though it best to inform them. Within the hour of receiving our email, the Council received a call from the gift store to complain. I really couldn’t believe it. At Little Play Town ALL kids are welcome. And for us to be told by the Council that ‘these” people – disabled kids – should not be let in at Little Play Town if they are going to cause more noise, I am flabbergasted. Demanding that we do ‘anything’ to prevent noise, even if it means to turn kids with disabilities away, is against everything we stand for and shows how irrational and narrow minded the opposition we have faced is. I believe role play is very beneficial for any child and my door has always been open to anyone that wishes to come in.

We’ve spoken to the MP, who is across the road from us. He has been invited a few times to come and see what Little Play Town offers the families of Odiham and surrounding communities, but so far he has shown no interest. We have also spoken to the Parish Council and the Councillors of Odiham. We have applied for a grant to help us pay for the floors the council wants us to put in which cost just under £20000, but were not successful. They have put us in an impossible position. We have 10 staff members at Little Play Town and all of us stand to lose our jobs. And most of my staff live in Odiham. Little Play Town is such an asset to the community and we could do so much more but for the entrenched, short sighted, and very personal opposition to us.

In the end, my husband tells me that my health is more important than the business which I love so much; having to be rushed off in an ambulance thinking that I’m having a heart attack over all the daily stress of the pass year, and getting heart palpitations daily when I enter Odiham, being afraid of entering the car park of my own business – all of it is just not worth it. We’ve come to realise that the neighbours weren’t willing to give us a chance and work with us – the first verbal attacks happened while I was still unpacking Little Play Town and we hadn’t even opened. Since then I have been attacked by the coffee shop owner and the police had to be called. After the police spoke to them they agreed that they will not enter Little Play Town again. But this hasn’t stopped me from always having to be on guard, always wondering if I will be attacked or intimidated again.I would like to thank the mom and child who were also verbally abused by the coffee shop owner, writing a statement to the police regarding the incident, as the same happened to me minutes later.

So here we are. We are not sure if we have 1 week, 2 weeks or 1 month left. I’m sure there will be a few that will be happy that we are gone, but I’m hoping that most of you will feel it is a loss and a shame. I have written this from the heart and I’ve never been very good at writing but I’m not going to edit this. We are good kind and honest people, and we have been trying very hard to fix this problem but we can only do so much but the 2 owners from downstairs have no intention of meeting us half way or at all of that matter. My kids want heir mommy back, as all they see is me crying every day.

So if you love Little Play Town, come and visit us for one last time. As I’m not sure for how much longer we will be here for. My heart is broken. I love Little Play Town and I’m struggling to come to term with this, but it’s been taken out of our hands. I hope you remember those moments with your children at Little Play Town as fondly as I do – I will miss you all. All the smiles and laughter. All the happiness.

Thanks you for reading my story. Feel free to share it on.

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Facebook has deactivated the NorthHantsMum FB Page

On Thursday, when I discovered that Facebook had moved my FB pages into a Business Manager, I moved them out of the Business Manager because I have no idea what it is and I don’t want to use it as it’s clearly yet ANOTHER attempt by FB to make money out of me.

Facebook moved my pages into the Business Manager with no warning.

Again.

I was then advised by FB that they would be removing my admin rights from the pages and deleting my FB Pages within 24 hours.

At first I was absolutely LIVID.

How DARE they do this. AGAIN!

Three years ago, in 2015, they “decided” to change my profile to a page and it caused me an extreme amount of stress and grief.

However, this time I was a bit more prepared. I’ve put systems in place to ensure that if FB decided to screw my business over again I would be prepared. (I know NHM isn’t a business, it’s a not for profit, but I class it as a business given how much time and effort it takes several of us to run!)

On Friday, I woke up with a great feeling of relief and calmness.

The decision has been made for me.

Every 6 months to a year Facebook does a massive change which “screws” those of us who are running small businesses.

I am absolutely sick of it. The time and effort it takes to get things “back on track” after another Facebook algorithm change or changing the notifications so no one can see what you post. I just don’t have the energy for it anymore.

I also learnt this week that Facebook track all of the websites that you click on from the device that you’ve connected to Facebook from (I kind of knew this already). I’m fairly sure that should be illegal!!! I also learnt that they own WhatsApp.

Ironically, in the past two weeks I’ve been moaning about FB to the Small Business Networking group and some of the Mum’s on the school run, so I wasn’t that surprised when it happened this week! lol.

I intensely dislike the way Facebook are trying to exploit people and I dislike the ethics of the company.

SUBSCRIBE!!!

Never miss a NorthHantsMum blog post again!!

As I am soooo over Facebook and their ridiculous changes that are only there to try to make money out of people, after 7.5 years, I’ve decided that I won’t be having an FB page again.

Someone had already commented on the annual NHM Survey that it was confusing having so many things being posted in so many different places.

So, from now on, you can subscribe on the website (see picture below) to receive the posts via email and you can add me as a friend at “Louise nhm Smith”.

That’s it.

I will no longer update the “NorthHantsMum FB Page” and if FB choose to delete the page – well, that’s up to them.

You can’t search FB pages anyway so it makes much more sense to keep the content in the website alone.

You can still share posts from the website to Facebook as the functionality is available at the bottom of each post on the website.

Subscribe on a phone

If you are trying to subscribe via a phone, the best way is to scroll to the very BOTTOM of the home page, as far as you can go (past all of the posts) and then scroll BACK UP slowly:

  • past the “Categories”,
  • past the “Navigation Menu”,
  • past the “Random Business Directory Listing”,
  • past the “Recent NorthHantsMum Posts”,
  • past the “Search NorthHantsMum”
  • and “Subscribe to NorthHantsMum via email” will be just there.

It takes much longer to explain than to actually subscribe on a phone! lol.

Hopefully if you subscribe you won’t be subject to FB and the limitations that they place on what you see from NorthHantsMum as subscribing on the website means you won’t miss ANYTHING that is published on the website.

It would be awesome if you were able to share this post with others who you know are active followers of NorthHantsMum.

As always, thank you VERY much for your support and understanding and thank you in advance for subscribing on the website.

Thank you!!!!

Louisex

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Children’s parade to light up Festival Place as it launches season of festive fun in Basingstoke’s “most magical Christmas ever!”

A spectacular light-up children’s parade will launch six weeks of non-stop festive fun at Festival Place, Basingstoke, in what promises to be the town’s most magical Christmas shopping season ever.

The town centre shopping and leisure destination has pulled out all the stops this year to prepare a full programme of events, competitions and attractions that will keep visitors in the Christmas spirit throughout November and December.

The most wonderful time of the year begins on the evening of Friday, November 16, with a parade and dance display featuring local schoolchildren alongside an array of magical woodland characters, including Squirrel Nancy Nutkins, Deer Darlington, Anka The Snow Hare, and many more! Not forgetting Snow White, from the Anvil!

The procession, starting at 6pm, will use the latest lighting technology to put shoppers at the heart of the event. The stunning switch-on finale will take place at 6.30pm.

Visitors to the launch event will each be issued with a band that illuminates. Ten lucky people will have their band change colour and will win a £100 shopping voucher for Festival Place.

After the parade, shoppers are invited to spend the evening exploring Festival Place’s huge range of top-brand retailers, leisure facilities and restaurants.

The parade is only the beginning, as a variety of festive events fill a fun-packed calendar throughout the shopping season.

Visitors will be able to try their hands at The Snowball Throwball competition, become a Stealthy Elfy in a laser mission, get hands-on with the latest children’s gifts at the Toy Lab, take time out in calming Christmas wreath-making workshops, get their pressies wrapped for a donation to St Michael’s Hospice, and get gift tips from the centre’s very own Fairy Gift Mother. Visitors will, of course, be able to visit Santa in his traditional Grotto on the second floor, which will be Destination Christmas. All the activities will be free for visitors.

Neil Churchill, Centre Director at Festival Place, said: “This is my first Christmas at Festival Place, and the first since a huge refurbishment which has transformed the centre.

“We wanted to do something spectacular this year to celebrate the changes, launching with an action-packed event that families will love, and then continuing throughout the season with the biggest and best programme of events and activities that Festival Place has ever seen.

“We’re really excited to capture that Christmassy feeling and the excitement that comes with seeking out special presents for loved ones in a magical, welcoming environment that has something for everyone.

“The whole Festival Place team are already feeling festive and can’t wait to welcome the thousands of visitors who will experience Basingstoke’s most magical Christmas ever this November and December.”

For the first Christmas shopping season, visitors will enjoy the benefits of Festival Place’s newly-refurbished car park with improvements including wider spaces, lights to alert drivers to free spaces, and more payment machines. And watch out – there are even rumours that Santa himself may be parking there during the festive period!

The full line-up of events and activities:

November 16 – Christmas Launch (6pm)

Join woodland friends, Nancy Nutkins, Deer Darlington, Anka the Snow Hare and Snow White in the magical parade through the forest to help wake up Snowy the Wishmas Owl and kickstart the season. The parade will end in Porchester Square and culminate in a grand finale of dance, lighting up a giant animatronic installation.

November 16 to December 24 – Snowball throwball

Visitors will be invited to test their aim at Snowball Throwball! On your marks, get set, throw! Throw some magic at Snowball Throwball!

November 16 to December 24 – Gift Guide Live

Stuck for gift ideas? Gift Guide Live is here to help with your gifting needs. Hosted by everyone’s favourite Fairy Gift Mother on November 17 and 18, get inspiration and treat your loved ones to what they really want this Christmas.

November 24 and 25 – Cracker Station

Get crafty and join our elves at the Christmas Cracker Making Station! Fill your crackers with giggles, jokes and wishes to set your Christmas off with a bang! Super festive fun for all ages. Sponsored by Basingstoke Together.

December 1 and 2 – The Toy Lab

Try out the latest toys, gadgets and Christmas must-haves for little (and big) kids. All elf approved, of course!

December 8 to 22: Stealthy Elfy

Do you have what it takes to be a Stealthy Elfy? Get the presents under the tree without being caught to climb the leaderboard in this interactive laser game. Will you win?

Various dates between November 16 and December 16: Flower Therapy

Need a break from Christmas Shopping? Head over to the Hampshire Flower Studio for mindfulness wreath making. Learn a new skill and natter away in this adult only space – with no outside distractions! Tea and cake provided. Make sure to book your slot at the Customer Lounge.

Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in December (Led by Basingstoke BID on December 20) : The Happy Wrappy Place

Rubbish at wrapping? Need an extra pair of hands for those tricky presents? The Happy Wrappy Team are here to help! Festive Services are here to help! Get all wrapped up with Festive Services in aid of St Michael’s Hospice.

November 15 to December 24 – Santa’s Grotto

Come and visit our fabulous, festive grotto and meet a very special person indeed. A truly magical Christmas experience for all the family, open throughout November and December!

For further updates on Christmas at Festival Place visit www.festivalplace.co.uk/Christmas or find details on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Oliver’s Fight Against Neuroblastoma

Who is Oliver?

Oliver was only 2 years old when his family were delivered life shattering news. He was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma just weeks before his third birthday and what has since followed, has changed Oliver and his family’s lives forever.

To be told that your child is suffering from a life-threatening disease is an experience no parent should have to face. Heartbreakingly, after Oliver and his family had the relief of being told that he was in remission and cancer free in May 2017, he subsequently suffered a relapse in January 2018. Having already seen their brave little boy endure the horrors of cancer, the treatment it entails and all the dreadful side effects, this was a devastating blow.

Now 5 years old, Oliver’s parents are seeking to create a community to help follow their journey and support in any way they can to help see their beautiful little boy free from this terrible disease once and for all. His most recent rounds of chemotherapy have been going well and he is responding really well. Living in the Basingstoke area, Oliver’s parents, Jo and Matt, are aiming to raise the funds required to access treatments abroad that aren’t available on the NHS, which could be the key to him making a full recovery.

How can the NorthHantsMum community help?

The NorthHantsMum community have proven themselves to be caring, kind and supportive through all manner of different causes. We would really love to see as many of you as possible take a moment to like and follow Oliver’s Facebook page. If you have an extra moment, giving the page a share will also help to spread the message further.

Oliver’s parents will be posting regular updates on fundraisers and local events taking place to help them to reach the goal to get him to the States and any contribution that can be made will be gratefully received.

Perhaps you work for a local business who are looking for a charity to support? Maybe you know of businesses who could make a donation that could be used to raise funds for this very important cause. As the saying goes, every little helps!

https://www.facebook.com/OliversfightagainstNeuroblastoma/

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Review 2018: Gymfinity

Thank you very much to S for today’s NHM Review! She’s done a fab job!!!

Review 2018: Gymfinity

About

Gymfinity is a kids activity centre.

They say: “Gymfinity Kids is the one-stop destination for active classes for kids. From budding gymnasts to natural born ninjas, all skill levels are welcome to join the fun!”.

They host all types of gymnastic classes, holiday camps, baby balance, Ninja Zone and parties.

There are several types of gymnastic classes ranging from beginners, intermediate to advanced and team gymnastics.

Ninja Zone was: ” designed to help children channel their boundless energy into something productive.

This fun and energetic class combines a mix of martial arts, freestyle movement and gymnastics. Every one-hour session includes warm-ups, games and rotations adapted to each child’s ability, plus a fun obstacle course. As their skill and ability grows, each child will advance through the different levels.”

Baby Balance sessions are: “”30 minutes of FREE sensory play for babies aged 3 months +. These are parent-led sessions where you can spend quality time with your little one, while catching up with other parents too!”

There are lots more details about each of the classes at the following link: https://www.gymfinitykids.com/locations/farnborough/activities/#gymnastics.

They have branches in Farnborough, Colchester, Reading and Leeds. I visited the Farnborough branch with my 8 year old son.

Every child has a free trial prior to signing up; this means that the child and parent gets to see if the facilities work for them, and it also gives the coaches a chance to assess the child’s ability and place them in the correct group for their ability.

Every coach is trained by a regional trainer regularly which means that they are all trained to the same standard. They also train coaches on the floor during classes so they receive on-the-job training.

Tips

Gymfinity is based on the upper floor of the Meads Shopping centre (above Sainsbury’s). I would advise you get to your session in plenty of time to get a parking space and pay for your ticket.

Food/drink

There is a vending machine and a hot drinks machine in the gym. These are usual vending prices.

Facilities

There is plenty of seating so you can watch your child during the class. There are a couple of tables. There are male and female toilets and disabled toilet with nappy changing facilities. They are very clean and well maintained.

There are two party rooms, both with disco lights which are very cool. I was told their unicorn themed party is very popular.

The gym itself has loads of equipment including balance beams, trampolines, assault course (with timer), vaulting horse, climbing wall as well as two slides which end in a massive foam pit.

Baby facilities

There are changing facilities in the disabled toilets

Parking

There is a car park which costs £2 for two hours. This can be refunded if you spend £5 in Sainsbury’s.

Prices

The trial session is free but if you decide you want to go ahead with classes these are prices as follows;

Pre-schoolers (up to 4.5): 25.95 a month with £30 annual membership fee
Recreational (4.5-16 years): 34.62 a month with £30 annual membership fee
Additional child: same monthly price but just £5 annual membership fee

Classes run daily and at weekends. At the end of each class children receive any awards and certificates they have earned.

Rating out of 5

5/5. Gymfinity is honestly amazing; it is well air conditioned without being chilly, light and airy. The gym itself is bright and colourful and very inviting to children (I was very tempted to dive headfirst into the foam pit after my son!)

The coaches are fantastic, really encouraging to the children and willing to throw themselves into the activity (my son certainly put his instructor through her paces). There are plenty of coaches on the floor who can help those children who need it and there is a maximum of 10 children per class.

Disclaimer: This post is a review of Gymfinity Farnborough. Our session was supplied free of charge for the purposes of the review. We were not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are our own.

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Baby & Me Time

Baby & Me Time offers fun and informal baby massage classes in Basingstoke in a warm, calm and relaxed environment. Take the opportunity to relax and bond with your baby whilst also meeting other parents.

We follow the International Association of Infant Massage (IAIM) curriculum and over 5 weeks you will learn a full body massage routine for your baby.  We will also cover benefits of massage, use of oils, alternatives to massage, a gas and colic routine and adaptations for the growing child to enable you to continue massaging your child for many years to come.

You will benefit from support and guidance from an experienced instructor trained by the IAIM who have been training instructors for over 30 years and last year celebrated their 20th anniversary in the UK.

Our next course starts on Thursday 15th November at Hatch Warren Community Centre. Please contact us for more information or to book onto the course.

Website: https://www.babyandmetime.co.uk/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/babyandmetime

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Be rewarded for your loyalty with new Basingstoke shopping scheme!!

Shoppers in Basingstoke can now reap the benefits of supporting the Hampshire high street as a new loyalty card scheme has been launched to encourage residents to love local.

The Basingstoke Rewards scheme, which is available from today (Thursday 1 November) courtesy of Basingstoke Together, gives shoppers access to a wide range of offers and discounts. A wealth of Basingstoke businesses and national chains are supporting the scheme including shops, restaurants, solicitors, recruitment agencies, insurance companies, sports and leisure facilities.

The card boasts discounts including 10% off in Topshop, Monsoon, Accessorize and Yankee Candle as well as 20% off in Zizzi, a month’s free membership at Anytime Fitness, 40% off Taylor’s Hair & Beauty plus many more.

Lucy Boazman, Chief Executive of Basingstoke Together, said: “The new Basingstoke Rewards card is packed with brilliant ways to save money from an impressive range of retailers throughout the town centre.

“There is huge pressure on high streets throughout the UK to combat the ever-popular trend of shopping online. So, we hope that people in Basingstoke will support local businesses by visiting the town for all of their shopping, leisure and business needs. They can also be happy in the knowledge that their money will be going further by doing so.”

Basingstoke Together is the public face of the Basingstoke Business Improvement District (BID). The BID’s aim is to help Basingstoke town centre to thrive by creating destination events, engaging with consumers and supporting retailers and businesses. The organisation hopes that the loyalty card will encourage more shoppers to visit Festival Place, The Malls and the Top of Town as value-for-money shopping destinations.

Shoppers can save every time they make a purchase at participating venues by showing the specially created loyalty cards. The card, which will be valid until 31 March 2021, costs £2 as a one-off purchase and it is available from the Basingstoke Together website from today (Thursday 1 November).

Fran Balogh from The Salt Lounge, in Feathers Yard, which is offering 20% off treatments to Basingstoke Rewards card holders, said: “We try to encourage people to use a more natural way to heal their respiratory and skin problems. This new loyalty card enables us to achieve this by making treatments more affordable. Being able to get involved in the project and offer customers discounts in businesses like ours really is a great opportunity for us and our valued clients.”

Shops and brands who are part of the Basingstoke Rewards scheme include:

National brands

  • Monsoon

  • Zizzi’s

  • Caffe Nero

  • Gourmet Burger Kitchen

  • Yankee Candle

  • Oasis

  • Mountain Warehouse

  • Moss Bros

  • Pizza Hut

  • A Plan Insurance

Independent businesses:

  • Wax Works

  • Exciting Escapes

  • The Tea Bar

  • Basingstoke Sports Centre

  • Basingstoke Service Centre

  • Taylors Hair and Beauty

  • Clarke and Son Solicitors

  • Lamb Brooks Solicitors

For more information or to purchase a Basingstoke Rewards card, visit https://www.basingstoketogether.co.uk

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New Class in Overton: NCT Yoga for Pregnancy

The classes are suitable for women at any time after 12 weeks of pregnancy and focus on gentle postures, breathing techniques, positions for labour and relaxations. The aim is for you to have an enjoyable and relaxing time, whilst improving your physical and emotional wellbeing and helping you feel more confident and positive about birth. The postures are very gentle, specifically designed so you can attend throughout your pregnancy (after 12 weeks) and can be adapted to individual needs. They can be taken on their own or as an add-on to our other antenatal classes.

The classes are suitable for all women, regardless of their fitness level.

Benefits of these classes include:

⦁ Reduced back ache
⦁ Improved quality of sleep
⦁ Reduced anxiety
⦁ Strengthened joints and muscles
⦁ Increased flexibility
⦁ Increased blood circulation
⦁ Reduced swelling from fluid retention
⦁ Improved posture and body awareness
⦁ Strengthened abdominal and pelvic muscles
⦁ Improved digestive system

For those who are already mothers, the class will be a time when you can relax, concentrate on the new baby, and think about your wishes for this birth.

For first time mothers, there will be lots of practical tips, opportunity to meet others and ask questions. Some words may be unfamiliar, please do not hesitate to ask if there is anything you are unsure of, no matter how small it might seem.

* Everyone is welcome, you don’t have to be a member of the NCT. We would like to make sure every parent can benefit from our courses. We therefore have lower prices for parents on lower incomes or in receipt of certain benefits. These concessions vary, from small discounts of 5% to a maximum reduction of 90% off the full course fee. Please ask about these discounts.

Looking forward to seeing you,

Anne Boyere

Sundays, 6.00 to 7.30 pm.

Parking outside of the Community Centre, London Road car park or Overton Hill car park.

£7.50 per class paid on a weekly basis.

Please bring a yoga mat, blanket and a pillow if possible but I’ll have some mats.

Website: https://www.nct.org.uk/branches/basingstoke/yfp
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RelaxStretchBreatheBasingstoke/
Email: a.boyere26617@hotmail.co.uk
Tel: 07515821851

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NHM Reader Recommendations: Toddler groups for socialising children and parents

I recently had a question from an NHM Reader that I was really hoping the NHM Community could help with. I know that there are groups on NHM but thought maybe there were other support groups that could also help: “I have 2 children, a 2yr old and a 4year old. My 4 year old is very shy and I do not have any friends with children. I feel really isolated. I would love to find out about some groups (regular ones that I can keep going to) to give my 4yr old an opportunity to mix with other children and me to make some friends.”

Thank you so much for all the responses and also for the kind offers to meet up. The group suggestions are listed below in no particular order:

NHM Reader Recommendations: Toddler groups for socialising children and parents

Edie said “Sherborne St John baby and toddler group on a Wednesday in term time at 9.45-11.30am in the village hall is a very friendly group that is a good way to meet other mums.”

Shirley said “Sycamore Halls Community Centre has two parent and toddler groups… Monday 10 til 12 and Thursday 10 til 12… term time only”

Hannah said “Basing beans is a lovely friendly group. They have a Facebook page. Also places like fun house are good as the kids kind of gravitate towards each other.”

  • Stephanie asked “Hi,is basing beans still running? We’ve been twice(term time) in the last 2 months and the building was in darkness and locked”
  • Jenni replied “Hi Stephanie, I’m not sure if you know but Basing Beans moved to Lychpit Village Hall a while ago, it’s still great fun!”

Rebecca said “Mini Professors is good for 2-4 year olds.”

Allison R said “Two friendly toddler groups held at St Mary’s Church, Goat Lane Eastrop. Tues and Thurs term time, 10am – 11.30am. Many parents bring pack lunches and stay on for more chats and social ‘indoor picnic’!”

Lene said “I run Little Learners Basingstoke (aimed at 5 months to 5 years). A messy play group developing early writing skills and mark making. The classes are small and very relaxed. https://www.facebook.com/LLBasingstoke/

Joanna said “BusyBees Hook is a lovely craft toddler group, Friday mornings at 9.45am”

Laura said “I really recommend Muddy Puddles forest school. Being outside gives shyer children space to make friendships at their own pace. And brilliant for my 2 who are almost 2 and almost 4.”

  • Edie said “Second that actually, we’ve just started our second term”
  • Sarah said “Muddy Puddle Forest School is amazing!”

Erica said “Come and join the fun at Pop Up Play Village on a Wednesday morning in Beggarwood Community Centre. We’ve had a few people come who have felt like that… It’s hard feeling like that. Once your 4 year old gets school visits underway that might help as they meet Classmates. Www.facebook.com/popupplayvillagebasingstoke

Mary said “Do you use your preschool hours? If you find the one where most children go to the school your child will go to you maybe able to benefit for the rest of the term and then meet up with people in the holidays. My issue with lots of groups is they stop in the holidays so you might need to arrange to meet people through the holidays to maintain friendships.”

Mandy said “The Link, Newchurch Road in Tadley have various toddler groups on, all very friendly. Monday 1.15 to 2.45pm cheeky cherubs, Tuesday Little Squigglers Messy Play 9.30am to 11am, Wednesday Cheeky Chimps 9.30am to 11.30am, 2nd and 4th Thursday 9.30 to 11.30am Little Explorers Soft Play. There is also groups run by others like Totcross Buns on Thursday Mornings and Caterpillar Music on a Friday. All the groups are really friendly.”

  • Allison (Tot Cross Buns) replied “Thank you for the recommendation Mandy. We have spaces on Thursday and love meeting new mini bakers and their grown ups.

Wendy said “Basingstoke gymnastics run classes everyday that would accommodate both children.”

Rachael said “Sherfield Park community centre 0-5 toddler group on a Tuesday 10am-12pm. Very friendly group. If you want a smaller group to get her used to people first there is also Bumps into mums every Friday morning at Sherfield Park community centre just pay for drinks and cakes. Runs every week throughout the year (apart from bank holidays and Christmas) 10am-12pm. Kids ages range from newborns through to school starters”

Cerys said “NCT Coffee & Chat, Friday mornings 10.00 at Brookvale Village Hall”

Rachel said “TinyTalk Basingstoke – Baby signing and Toddler Talking classes have a social time as part of the class and I have had so many Mummies and little ones make firm friendships in class!”

Katie said “Join us at Cookery Doodle Doo – with a max preschool class size of 6, the children sit together and cook with me. You’re welcome to help her, or sit at my kitchen table with your littler one and watch/chat/drink coffee. Whatever works for you on the day. Trial class only £5 if you contact me to book. Or try our short pop-up on Thursday 10th May at the Overton Coffee Shop – all the adults join in and help at this fun Flowerpot Cheesecake class for little tots (walking/talking) up to preschool. Both your kids could do that one Www.Cookerydoodledoo.Com/northhants

Naomi said “Melrose Hall has two tot groups running one on a Tues and one on a Friday. The Friday one is very small in numbers so all are welcome”

Sasha said “Oakridge hall does a lovely playgroup on a Tuesday 9:45 -11:15 I have a 4yr and 2yr old and moved here not knowing anyone and felt isolated too.”

Juliet said “I started taking my shy boy to Tot Cross Buns about a year ago when he was two, the class size was perfect for him and the involvement has done wonders for his confidence. It‘s great for meeting other mums too”

  • Allison (Tot Cross Buns) said “Thank you for the recommendation Juliet. We love our mini bakers and enjoy meeting new faces”

Jaz said “Caterpillar Music is suitable for both ages and siblings are free too. I hated playgroups as would sit on my own and not be brave enough to talk to anyone. Structured classes I find much better and less scary. Being a mum is so daunting when you go to new places. I’m only more confident now I have a 3rd and even now don’t dare try playgroups!!!”

Kim said “‘What’s Inside The Box’ Story Time Sessions with Routine Riots. Teas and coffees for mums and dad’s whilst we explore a story, sing, dance and play. Themed each session. Every two weeks and next one is Thursday 3rd May from 1-2pm at Viables Community Centre. £4 and you’ll need to contact the Centre to book”

Yvette said “I went to caterpillar music this morning and usually I find new places and groups daunting. Being a structured class eased my uncomfortable side! Little ones 5 months and thoroughly enjoyed it!!!”

Kelly-Lauren said “Jiggy Wrigglers is a great class for all your children’s ages and is priced per family and not per child. All children love the music, dancing, props and bubbles! There is also social time with toys at the end where you can relax and have free tea/coffees and biscuits whilst your little ones play.”

  • Emma asked “Where is this one please? I have a baby and need to find classes to go to. All the ones I used to do with my first had stopped coz of the children’s centres cutbacks
  • Kelly-Lauren replied “Hi Emma, we are currently at Hook Home and Garden Centre on Tuesday 10-10.30 and 10.45-11.15 (no refreshments here or social time but there is a free play area you can use afterwards inside) which is £3 per child, Thursdays Melrose Hall in Popley 10-11am and Fridays Crookham WI Hall 10-11am. It’s such a shame about the cut backs as a lot of people are missing out on vital connections and support!”

Kath said” Zoe runs zingtastic and mumbaba. Zoe would definitely make you feel welcome and introduce you to other mums”

  • Hayley replied “Another recommendation for Zoe. I’ve been to her groups with both of my children and she will absolutely make you feel welcome”
  • Lisa said “I second that, Zoe is lovely and we have been going to Mumbaba for 3 years now.”
  • Julia said “Zoe is awesome and so welcoming – as a first time mum I went along to Mumbaba having had no mummy friends. My little girl and I were given such a warm welcome and made wonderful new friends”

Lizzie said “I run forest school sessions in Bramley and in morgaston woods at The Vyne. We have a few parents who bring 2 children along as the child led nature of forest School means children of all ages can join in. The parents are all lovely and welcoming and it’s a great place to make new friends as people attend every week. Facebook.com/muddypuddleclub

Sarah said “I run Hartbeeps multi-sensory classes suitable for both ages and siblings. It is a structured class with lots of fun. Classes in Hook are on a Tuesday morning and I have a special offer of 3 introductory classes for £12.00 on at the moment. sarahjp@hartbeeps.com https://www.facebook.com/hartbeepsfarnham/

Hayley said “Little angels in hatch warren on a Thursday morning is good for mixed ages too. My 4 year old and 19 month old go every week. It’s very relaxed and a nice bunch”

Louise NHM said “I was thinking, maybe we need a “code word” for Mum’s who are a bit shy or nervous, so that when they turn up, the organisers know to make them feel very welcomed and introduce them to others. Would that be a good idea?”

  • Rachael said “I think it’s a great idea just a shame it needs to be done, why can’t people just be more welcoming and introduce themselves when they see a new face walk in the door”
  • Jade said “This has never changed. I first had my first child 7 years ago and I was always the one sat on my own at baby group. 7 years later I take my 8month old little girl to one for her sake. Not mine. I don’t feel welcome no one wants to chat they’ve all got their friends I just go purely to get out the house now and no longer worry about having any ‘mummy friends’”
  • Rebecca said “I know exactly how you feel. This is why I prefer structured classes rather than playgroups.”
  • Mary said “I actually think the organiser needs to be more obvious so you know to introduce yourself to. Also most people who are talking in groups will let someone into the group.
  • The other thing to do is get there early and help to set up or put stuff away, that’s another way to get chatting. I don’t think I’m overly confident but i won’t sit on my own either.”
  • Helena said “Our village playgroup had a designated ‘welcomer’ who would instantly spot a new face, explain the set up and introduce them to the adults who she knew would be friendly and chatty Because let’s face it, not everyone is! It worked really well and no one was ever sat alone.
  • Sasha said “Louise NHM that’s a really good idea, make it easier for people”

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Kids Kan Dance: Christmas Creative Dance Workshops & Kids Kan Dance with Mummy (Walkers to 18 months)

Kids Kan Dance – Christmas Creative Dance Workshops

We have now released the dates for our Christmas Creative Dance Workshops.

These workshops are suitable for:

  • Preschools
  • Nurseries
  • Year R
  • Playgroups
  • Brownies

And any other groups that children attend

Join us on a magical journey to help Father Christmas deliver presents to all the boys and girls.  Perfect for your Christmas party of an end of year treat!

Email – kidskandance@gmail.com for more information!!

Kids Kan Dance with Mummy – Walkers to 18 months

Kids Kan Dance are thrilled to announce that we are opening a NEW class.

In November we will be launching a class for children who are confident walkers up to 18 months!  We will be holding taster sessions throughout November ready for the LAUNCH of this new class in January 2019!

This is a  class for children to dance with an adult. Classes are full of fun, dance routines, creative movement, singing, sensory play, exploration and imagination.

For more information please email kidskandance@gmail.com or view the website: https://www.kidskandance.co.uk/

Kids Kan Dance….. Where your child’s dance journey begins.

Don’t miss out on future posts like this – you can receive updates directly to your inbox by email by adding your email address to the box on the top right of this page and hitting subscribe. You can also follow NorthHantsMum onTwitter,Facebook PageFacebook ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there!