No monkey business at growing firm

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A play centre in Chorley is proving running a business is child’s play by diversifying.

Cheeky Monkey’s, on Kem Mill Lane, offers activities ranging from pre-school French and karate to support groups for families of children with autism.

Classes such as Kindermusik and French for Tots are proving so popular that they are running extra sessions to meet demand.

Also, a recent trial for a baby massage and movement group was so successful that the class is fully booked before regular sessions have even started.

Director Ian Kearney said the key to their success was Cheeky Monkey’s unique layout.

He said: “We have four dedicated party rooms with collapsible walls, which all slide back on ceiling-mounted rollers. It’s a very flexible layout.

“The classes usually use two rooms, but for the karate we slide back all the walls and create a huge studio where up to 30 children can learn.

“It also gives classes room to grow and expand and creates a secure, secluded environment, all without impeding on the normal play centre space.”

Ian said that, compared to other venues, the centre offers new organisations a very competitive deal.

He said: “If new businesses rent space in a church hall or somewhere like that, they have to advertise heavily, whereas here they can tap into our existing customer base of over 5,000 visitors per month.

“In other venues you also have to pay lighting and heating, whereas that’s already covered here.

“In addition, once you’ve paid for your class you can use the play centre facilities for free for two hours.”

Harriet Gore, class leader of Kindermusik, who has recently been nominated for a Most Outstanding Class Leader award by website What’s On 4 Little Ones, said working at Cheeky Monkey’s was hugely beneficial.

She said: “For mums it’s an affordable family day out, as after classes the children can play while the mums enjoy some adult conversation.”

In difficult times, Cheeky Monkey’s show considerable loyalty to their franchises.

Ian said: “We don’t allow competition. Once a franchise has started we won’t allow another similar organisation to have classes here while that franchise is with us.”