Role Play Lane 'Rhyme Time' Credit: Joanne Baldock

Play centre set up to build children’s social skills is in danger of closing

The not-for-profit business is looking for help as the cost of living crisis takes its toll 

A CHILDREN’S play centre in Llantwit Fardre is asking for volunteers and donations so it can continue to build social skills and confidence through fun activities. 

Role Play Lane, Llantwit Fardre. Credit: Joanne Baldock

Role Play Lane was set up in November 2018 and for the first 18 months the business did well. However, the effects of lockdown and increasing costs has left it struggling to keep up its activities. 

The centre is a not-for-profit business and offers funded classes for families unable to afford the full price.

Joanne Baldock founded the business as a place for children to learn social and emotional skills through play. In her previous role as a primary teacher, she noticed a trend of children arriving at school with few social skills or the ability to communicate their needs. 

These issues have been amplified by the effects of lockdown on children’s development.

Children across Wales deserve something that is fun, educational and purposeful”

Joanne Baldock, founder of Role Play Lane
Role Play Lane Credit: Joanne Baldock

“People do not realise the impact our place can have. Children need to learn through play, they are not meant to sit still for hours at a time. It is impossible for a teacher to provide this to a class of 35. They need early intervention,” said Ms Baldock.

A typical Role Play Lane session includes activities for children to do alone, and with their parents. Craft sessions, rhyme time and Welsh classes are also offered. 

The full price of a session is £7.50 per child, with the funded classes discounted to £4. 

Having fun at Role Play Lane. Credit: Joanne Baldock

“Having been a teacher and seeing how much the children were struggling, I believe children across Wales deserve something that is fun, purposeful and educational.”

Ms Baldock has had to step back from running sessions to focus on funding.

She is asking for people to offer donations or time volunteering so that the centre can keep providing the funded classes . She has also applied for funding from the Welsh Government.

Unseen costs of running the service include a licence so they can show films which is £160-£180 and a music licence which is £600. 

Role Play Lane would also like to work with other professionals to put on more specialised activities. For instance, every Saturday it runs classes for families with autistic children. In the past they have had sensory rooms and worked with the Wales Council for Deaf People

The donation link can be found on their Instagram with information about their upcoming raffle on their Facebook page, which also includes a survey form to assess the needs of families.