Guildhall Infant and Toddler Garden

Guildhall Infant and Toddler Garden

Photos by Moments to Media

The Guildhall Shopping Centre is very happy to announce the official opening of their Indoor infants and Toddler Family Garden on the first floor above Sainsburys in the Guildhall. 

This space has been born out of the need for community spaces in the city centre that are safe, sheltered from the rain and interactive for families and carers of young children. 

The space has thick fake grass and is 8metres by 10metres, it’s accessible but a little tucked away from crowds. It has some stimulating wall toys for children who are discovering their senses and developing their playing style such as large trees with bead counters. It also has a huge wooden duck and bright coloured cubes for the children to play on safely.  

‘We acknowledge the need to have spaces like this in the City centre and especially where facilities are nearby. Having a small child can often be very isolating due to how tricky it can be to come into town with a small child who can become restless and distracted. This area has been used for 18 months and it seemed a shame to have it like this when it could perform such an incredibly important function for parents and carers in our city.’

Nikki Fairclough, Marketing and Customer Experience Manager  

Thought has been taken into the comfort of the parents and carers too, with pallet seating around the edge and a mains fed water machine at the one corner of the area. The aim of this space is to allow parents and carers to bring their smaller children for a little run around while they have a rest or enjoy a beverage. There are also welcome to bring snacks/lunch into the area as there are ample bins provided and the space is regularly checked. 

‘We are conscious of the re-use and recycling of items in their Guildhall, as well as empowering local businesses so we have really applied this here. The pallet seating has been made on site with pallets from deliveries we receive every day. We have re-used the grass from Guildfest for the floor and we have bought the cube seating and the giant duck from a local prop company (Prop Factory – Marsh Barton) who have retired their props. We have had all the signs hand painted by an amazing local sign maker called Laura from Devon Signs and Props and we have installed a water machine for people to refill their own water bottles. Recycling bins are also on site and we sort all items that come from communal areas in the mall to ensure they are properly recycled. Being conscious of our waste lies at the heart of the Shopping Centre’. 

Nikki Fairclough, Marketing and Customer Experience Manager  

There is a feedback QR code in the area and so far the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive with one parent commenting:  

‘This area is amazing, it’s just what is needed, and I wish their where more in the city. It can be so expensive to go to a café every time you want to have a coffee, especially when your toddler is sick of being in the pushchair so being able to grab a takeaway coffee from Wilko and sit here is a god send and my kiddie loves it!’ – Ann Simpson, Heavitree 

Another: 

‘I’ve brought my little boy to have a run around while mum pops into Primark and we have loved being here’  – Jamie Bagwell, Whipton 

In 2022, we plan to host drop in music and story telling sessions in the week as well as groups focused on Dads as we acknowledge that this something that is desperately needed in Exeter and surrounds.  

‘It’s important for spaces like the Guildhall Shopping Centre to evolve with the city and if there is something we can do create community through safe and enjoyable facilities on site that are free to use, then that’s something we will absolutely do.’  

Nikki Fairclough, Marketing and Customer Experience Manager  

The space is open 7 days a week, 8am-7pm M-Sa and 10am-4pm Sunday. It is also open for late night shopping. It is located on the first floor, above Sainsburys and has both lift and stair access. It is also in close proximity to the baby feeding and changing are and the public toilets. 

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