Bus takes business on road

(L-R) Kerry Yates of Cheeky Chimps, Laura Matthewman of LTSBC and Liz Davies of Cheeky Chimps
(L-R) Kerry Yates of Cheeky Chimps, Laura Matthewman of LTSBC and Liz Davies of Cheeky Chimps

A WIGAN-based soft play centre business is set to create new jobs and boost turnover by a predicted 35 per cent with the launch of a new playbus.

Cheeky Chimps indoor activity centre, located in Atherton, currently offers a three-storey play structure, a soft-sports centre and a toddler area for younger children.

The business was initially set up in 2007 by Liz Davies and former nursery school manager Kerry Yates who, after meeting at the nursery and carrying out 18 months’ research, decided to launch the play centre enterprise together.

The duo decided to diversify the business through the concept of a playbus, which they purchased using a loan of £106,000 provided by Lloyds TSB Commercial after switching to the bank this year. The playbus was launched at the play centre by a ribbon-cutting at a party for the children of the local community.

The Cheeky Chimps playbus will allow the company to transport its services to various events such as school fetes and children’s parties, while still maintaining the original business at the activity centre at Howe Bridge Mill in Gloucester Street.

Bosses say that the expansion of the business will not only lead to an increase in the staff head count from its current size of 14, but Liz and Kerry are also expecting a 35 per cent increase in turnover to be generated.

Liz, director of Cheeky Chimps, said: “We were thrilled with the turn-out at the launch of the playbus, which is indicative of the rapidly increasing popularity of the new addition to the business.

“We have already received a load of bookings and it’s only the first day.

“Up until now we have had to wait for people to visit the play centre, but the new playbus service means that we can pro-actively bring the business to the customer.

“This new branch to the company has been a direct result of switching to Lloyds TSB Commercial, without which the loan would not have been possible.

“It’s great to have our business ideas taken so seriously.”

Laura Matthewman, relationship manager for Lloyds TSB Commercial, said: “Liz and Kerry make ideal partners as they combine their previous experience in both business and childcare, as well as a genuine passion for their company, to create results.

“Cheeky Chimps is a great example of how small and medium-sized enterprises’ diversifying their services can result in a substantial increase in turnover, often as a result of extending their client base. At Lloyds TSB Commercial we are keen to take the ideas of motivated local businesses with a viable plan, and help them to make them become reality.“

Lloyds TSB Commercial provides banking services for customers with an annual turnover of up to £15m, from start-ups to established companies looking to grow.