New entertainment centre opens

CHILDREN having a kickabout yell and cheer as the ball flies into the back of the net while at the other side of the room youngsters shriek as they soar down a slide.

CHILDREN having a kickabout yell and cheer as the ball flies into the back of the net while at the other side of the room youngsters shriek as they soar down a slide.

To some it might seem like chaos but to the first bunch of youngsters trying out Great Yarmouth's latest indoor entertainment centre, it's heaven.

Yo! Football, on Harfrey's Industrial Estate, opens tomorrow and is the brainchild of local businessman Kevan Whitbread who was inspired to create the children's entertainment centre with a football focus, by the lack of indoor facilities locally.

The premises, in Harfrey's Road, has been transformed from a former packaging factory to a buzzing children's entertainment centre in just eight weeks.


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Father-of-two Mr Whitbread said: “It's been pretty hectic - 12-hour days seven days a week - but we've had great support from friends and family.”

Mr Whitbread said he came up with the idea after his nine-year-old son Georgie started playing football. “It was only then I realised there was a real lack of indoor facilities. My research tells me there is nothing like this in Norfolk.”

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Yo! Football has an indoor football pitch made of third-generation Astroturf which can host teams up to seven-a-side and a large adventure play area with slides and climbing frames, providing an ideal set-up for families, according to Mr Whitbread.

The £300,000 centre boasts a sleek coffee lounge with comfy sofas and a plasma TV, an area where parents can take a five-minute break and

relax while little ones tire themselves out in the play area or on the football pitch.

“It's also a place where people from the industrial estate could come for a coffee and a bite to eat and we also have facilities here for business meetings,” explained Mr Whitbread, who also runs Inkbox in Yarmouth.

Inside the main play area there is plenty of seating for parents who can keep watch on their children on the adventure play area.

“The play centre is designed in a way so that no matter where children are, parents can see them,” said Mr Whitbread.

And if children have had enough of football or the adventure play area, there are pool tables and air hockey tables to expend little extra energy.

Mr Whitbread said around Christmas time he would look into establishing indoor football leagues and that people could sign up online to a free privilege card.

Mayor Terry Easter visited the centre on Wednesday afternoon with granddaughters Evie and Dulcie Read and said he was impressed.

Yo! Football has created nine jobs and, once fully operational, will employ around 20 staff. The centre will be open seven days a week from 10am until 10pm and the pitch and play area will be available for hire. Adults can also use the indoor pitch after 6pm.

Admission to the adventure play area is £3.95 per child and the football pitch is available to hire from £30 an hour.

For further information, call 01493 656995.

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