Pop Up Play idea proves so popular

Published on: 07 Sep 2015

TWO mums have come up with a masterplan that’s kept literally hundreds of children occupied during the school holidays.
For pals Joanne Titterton and Jemma Smith launched their brainchild - Pop Up Play - at Emersons Green Park this summer and it’s proved a huge hit with children and parents alike.
On various occasions during the six-week holiday, Pop Up Play ‘popped’ up to keep youngsters occupied and featured an inflatable slide, bouncy castle, helium balloons, Disney and Marvel characters including Elsa and Spiderman, hook-a-duck stalls, tea cup rides and face-painting.
Run on the grass behind the library and Emersons Green Village Hall, Pop Up Play was advertised via social media and posters and the word quickly spread.
The ladies have been delighted at the positive feedback they have received about their initiative including really supportive messages on Facebook.
Joanne, 39, who lives in Emersons Green with husband Mark and their two children, Tilli, five, and Pyper, two, runs Jo Jo’s Face Painting and has been honing her skills at many of this year’s local festivals. She saw Pop Up Play as a way of using her artistic flair to offer something different to the community.
“My husband and two children visit the park weekly and every year we think what an opportunity it would be to face paint and help families with children in the area to have an activity through the school holidays on their doorsteps.”
Jemma, 30, who also lives in Emersons Green with partner Paul Ashford and their two children, Lewis, eight, and Leah, five, said: “We love Emersons Green Park and think it’s a great place to go so we ran our ideas past the parish council and the people at the community centre and they all thought it was an amazing idea.”
Joanne and Jemma had to get their plans approved by South Gloucestershire Council but once the necessary permissions were in place there was no stopping them.
Jemma said: “We just said ‘Let’s give it a go - if it’s a flop, it’s a flop but if it’s successful, then great’. But we’ve been really lucky and have had an amazing response from everybody in the community.
“The children’s faces just light up when they see the characters dressed up and the bouncy castle - it’s lovely.
“We’ve met some amazing people and have had have had some great comments on Facebook.”
Jemma, who runs Little Jems Toddler Group at Pomphrey Hill, said the knock-on effect has been great for the area.
“We opened it up to everybody and even had people from Knowle come over after hearing about us. That’s great because it’s brought people over to our community who didn’t know the park was here.
“It’s also brought people in to visit the library, and the cafe at the village hall has been busy serving teas and coffees so they’ve got a bit of revenue from us.”
The pair organised six sessions during the holidays, which have run from 10am to around 5pm.
They have gone down so well, the women are hoping to run similar sessions throughout the year.
“It’s not 100 per cent yet as we need to speak to South Gloucestershire Council but we’re hoping this is something that’s going to run in every school holiday,” said Jemma.
Joanne said: “Pop Up Play was born to encourage fun as well as encouraging people to the park, shops and village hall.
“It’s a way of giving something back to the area we live and love.”

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