We Love The News: Play cafe looks ahead to brighter future after tough year
BEING part of the community has played a big part in helping Claire White keep her business going.
Claire runs Sweet Peas Play Cafe, in West Street, Fareham and has had a rollercoaster of a year.
Her business – a family-friendly cafe that has role play areas that allow children to play – has been forced to close for a large part of the last 12 months.
However, despite the turbulent times, she said she’s grateful to The News for its support, which has helped her promote her cafe when it opened, promote a fundraiser set up to help her through the tough times and even helped her to win two awards.
Claire, who moved to Gosport from Llangollen in Wales 10 years ago, said: ‘I started reading The News as soon as moved here.
‘I used to run pubs and clubs so we always had a copy in the pub. At one point we even used to put a copy in a frame above the men’s urinal everyday.’
Claire, mum to Florie, said that reading the local newspaper has helped keep her informed and made her feel part of the community.
‘She said: ‘I like community and The News gives a sense of that, I like knowing what’s going on. And I love it when you look back at old photos.
‘The News has really helped the business. It got the word out there when we first opened, we got to tell the community what we were all about, I didn’t really know anyone in Fareham and it’s helped us to settle in.
‘It has also helped with our Crowdfunder. We have had a dreadful year. It has been awaful. It was a nightmare, I didn’t know, and still don’t know, how I am going to pay the bills as they are coming out even though we are shut.
‘But having that support there from the community has kept me going.’
The cafe has just won two awards from family guide website Little Ankle Biters, which named it best Best Children’s Party Venue and Best Local Independent Business in Hampshire.
With the two awards under her belt, Claire has a renewed optimism and she is hoping lockdown is lifted as planned so she can get back to work, possibly in May.
Claire said: ‘I am not holding my breath and won’t plan until two weeks before we know we can definitely open but I can’t wait to be back up and ruining.
‘Once we are open, it will be fine and we will be busy. We have so many loyal customers that have really supported us.’