At one time or another, most of us have played with a box of Lego. Some even made it a hobble and the really lucky ONE’s might have even made a job out of it.
Their came a point however for most of us that we stopped playing with Logo and either upgraded to the less popular Meccano or changed to something different all together.
Well guess what? … IT’s BACK! or maybe never even left!
The last couple of years has seen the interest in these small bricks coming back to life. It has attracted a new generation to the little brick sets with just as many girls now building as the boys. With the new generation comes new challenges, keeping it fresh and bang up to date within the modern technological world. Meaning Lego has had to adapt. Now we have automated lego attachments, some even programmed and driven from our smart devices. That’s not even mentioning the film and game franchise.
Don’t worry adults, you’re not being left out. Some of us BIGGER kids are filling our garden sheds, spare rooms and mens caves (women’s caves aswell) with the stuff from the classic fire or police stations packs to the newly created yellow submarine set from the song of the same name by the Beatles.
This doesn’t come cheap however and a small box sells for around a fiver (if your lucky!), going up to the 100’s for the big builds. So how do we satisfy the want to build by our little ones, without paying the earth and get a couple of hours peace into the bargin?….Thats where the new Little Builders CLub NI centre just opened in Coleraine has it covered!
Their slogan, ‘imagine It! Build It!’, and you can do just that. The brain child of Paul Allen, created as a welcoming place where you can drop your kids off for a couple of hours in a safe fun environment, allowing them to express their creative side with many activities and special events.
Saturday 7th October saw the official opening of the centre at Unit 8 Market Court (beside Dominoes Pizza) in Coleraine. Inside the centre boasts a bright environment filled with plenty of activities aimed mainly at children of primary school age.
From Lego building tables, a Lego wall to build on to a film area complete with bean bag seating. There is even an area to play the latest in Lego computer games. The fun doesn’t stop with just Lego, the little ones have a vast amount of other crafts for their active minds to fill a couple of hours of fun at least, all lead by the big kids!!, the staff off course, who are full briefed to have as much fun as possible.
For your peace of mind the staff are fully trained and Access NI checked and the centre has even been given the seal of approval by the Health Trust.
A fun place indeed for the kids but it wasn’t an idea that Paul decided to just try! No, it came of the back of a serious long-term project Paul & Stephen are passionate about. Recently moving from England to call Northern Ireland their home, Paul & Stepehen are also foster parents and noticed the lack of good services and care facilities under one roof, with many having to go one place for contact and another place for therapies etc. And there an idea was born…a contact centre with all the essential services and support mechanisms, including having fun, under one roof.
The Little Builders Club was one of the ideas that Paul had to develop within this centre and the plan is still to do that, but the vast task to co-ordinate this and find suitable premises has led to a delay on this All-In-One centre but Paul is confident that 2018 will make this dream a reality and with Paul at the helm there isn’t really a doubt about that. A view also expressed by the areas MLA Claire Sugden who was at the opening. Speaking about the new facility Claire said,
“I met Paul just this year and was so impressed by his energy and big heart for families and the community.”
The ideas to improve what Paul & Stephen offer here and expansion plans are already their top priority. Much more is to come as they head to the end of the year with pizza days, movie days just to name a few and we can’t not mention their Halloween Camp and Santa’s Grotto with tickets already selling fast. Paul is even looking at opening more of these Little Builders Clubs in the Causeway Coast & Glens area.
Of course give the ethos behind the creation of The Little Builders Club, its is fully accessible to everyone. Those from the care system will be made more that welcome, those with learning or special needs and those with disabilities. One of their ideas which really stood out was their ‘Quiet Zone’. Special days and times set aside to accommodate those with specific condition like ADHD or Autism, where they can play in quiet and receive extra special attention from staff and their parents/guardians.
A project like this can only go so far on its own and needs the help, attention and support from the local community and they got just that. ASDA foundation have helped with funding and set aside hours of support from their local stores community champion, Sylvia. Coleraines Men Shed also came on board and have made and constructed a large amount of their fixtures and fittings including custom-built furniture. And the most important part…the Logo building bricks donated by the community.
If the opening is anything to go by and with party bookings already in the books, this facility will thrive in the coming weeks and months and hopefully years.
For more information on The Little Builders Club get in touch with Paul, Stephen or their staff on 028703 57027, check out their Facebook page or contact them at their website www.thelittlebuildersclubni.com
Mondays to Fridays 10am – 12pm (PRE BOOKING ONLY) & 2-7pm
Saturdays 10am – 4pm
Sundays 10am – 2pm (QUIET ZONE)