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Joey’s new home attracts crowds despite ‘soft launch’

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THE new family entertainment centre at Oatlands had a ‘not so soft’ opening at the weekend.

Gareth Griffin, left, and Chris Coles at the newly-opened Oaty and Joey’s Playbarn at Oatlands Village. (Pictures by Steve Sarre, 23506204)

Oaty and Joey’s Playbarn, which houses the iconic Aurigny aircraft, opened for business at 9am on Friday and, within a few hours, people were queuing across the courtyard to get in.

On Saturday, entry had to be suspended temporarily as the facility was near its 650 capacity.

‘It was essential to have a soft opening so we could iron out any issues but it became busy very quickly,’ said director and investor, Chris Coles.

The building is home to a host of entertainment for families, including what Mr Coles said was one of the largest play frames in Britain, with different zones for different age groups.

‘The children have to be incredibly active on many of these things and it gets them away from computer screens and gadgets,’ he said.

The facility will employ about 30 people, including kitchen staff.

It features a four-lane half size 10-pin bowling alley, which incorporates about 50 other game choices.

There are trampolines for children of all ages, and e-cars which adults can drive with younger children.

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There is also remote control cars and mini-diggers which children can operate.

Mr Coles’ fellow director and investor, Gareth Griffin, said people had described it as ‘a Tardis’ as it looked much bigger from the inside, to the extent that some had not noticed Joey hanging from the ceiling in Oaty’s eatery straightaway.

Dental nurse Sylwia Cedro and her builder husband Tomasz said their son Filip, four, had been waiting for the day it opened.

‘This is just amazing and something that was so much needed in Guernsey,’ she said. ‘The people are very friendly and there is so much for people to do.

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‘Parents can relax while their children have fun.’

The centre took 16 months to build. It houses four party/function rooms and Mr Griffin said they could cater for parties of 12 to 600 people.

It will be open from 9am to 5.30pm on every day of the year apart from Christmas Day. The diner will be open later on Fridays for supper.

The Ravenscroft-managed Bailiwick Investment Fund is a partner in the project.

Nigel Baudains

By Nigel Baudains
News reporter

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