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A mother of three is opening a new Southwell play centre at Tom Kat Yard in Crew Lane





A mother of three is ‘excited’ to be opening a new town play centre early next year – and she hopes will fill a void for families in the area.

Supernova Stay and Play – at Tom Kat Yard, Crew Lane, Southwell – is set to open its doors for the first time on Wednesday, January 3.

Owner Emily Cotterill said she was inspired to launch the business after she found it difficult to find a play centre in the area that would accommodate the needs of her three children – 20-week-old Nova, 19-month-old Indie and Noah, aged seven.

New play centre opening in Southwell. Owner Emily Cotterill with her children, Noah Parlett 7, Indie Cotterill 1 and 20-week-old Nova Cotterill.
New play centre opening in Southwell. Owner Emily Cotterill with her children, Noah Parlett 7, Indie Cotterill 1 and 20-week-old Nova Cotterill.

The venue’s name came from Emily’s youngest daughter Nova, who was born with a rare chromosomal disorder 17q12.

“She literally burst into the world with a smile on her face, her nickname is Super Nova, hence the name,” said the new business owner.

The centre will be dedicated to children aged five and under and offers a play area, a space for ‘pre-crawlers’, a children's pre-loved clothes rail, adult book swap, a teddy bear picnic table, family-friendly WC facilities and a coffee shop.

Older children are welcomed into the space, but not in the play area unless helping a younger sibling. There will also be cupboard games, colouring and Lego on offer.

“When we were on holiday, my mum and I – along with my husband and children – visited a venue that had its own big soft play area and a play town,” said Emily.

She added: “It was crammed full of people with no spare tables, a huge queue for drinks and the noise was a bit unbearable. On the face of it, the venue looked very successful yet we didn’t want to go back.

“We sat in the car, looked at each other and said how much better we could do what they had done. We got home and looked into it and, after lots of hurdles, I decided maybe it wasn’t meant to be. However, knowing how much I wanted to do this, my husband encouraged me to keep trying and here we are.”

New play centre opening in Southwell. Owner Emily Cotterill with two of her children, Indie Cotterill 1 and 20-week-old Nova Cotterill.
New play centre opening in Southwell. Owner Emily Cotterill with two of her children, Indie Cotterill 1 and 20-week-old Nova Cotterill.

Emily’s mother has designed each of the play areas using calming colours. Each area has been designed to promote self-confidence, encourage the children to use their imagination and help to enhance their communication skills and social awareness.

Open Monday to Friday, there will be three 90-minute sessions a day, from 9.30am to 11am, 11.30am to 1pm and 1.30pm to 3pm.

All sessions must be booked online via the website or over the phone if needed.

The mother-of-three added: “We are really excited as we think it’s actually something that the town needs and is lacking.

“My mum was going to open one when I was younger but decided on a toy shop instead.

“The feedback from people has been really positive but we are also, of course, nervous.

“There’s been a lot of hard work, sleepless nights, time and energy gone into it so that our local community has somewhere lovely to bring their children and fingers crossed it will be well supported.”

Supernova Stay and Play is also set to offer venue hire for children’s birthday parties and special occasions at the weekend or after 4pm on weekdays.

On Mondays and Thursday mornings there will be a Stay and Play Ballet class for those aged two to five during term times, taught by a professional Royal Academy of Dance classical ballet teacher who owns The Studio in Averham.

Each week a different theme will be chosen for the class, which will incorporate movement, sound and visual learning.



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