DaddiLifeForce brings you weekly inspiration curated from the community, to turn average time into more winning dad moments. This week we’re joined by Tessa from Club Hub UK on why dad’s are creating more kids clubs right across the UK. Over to you, Tessa!
It’s never been a better time to set up kids clubs, and we were delighted to talk to a few dad’s who are advertising their children’s clubs for free on Club Hub UK. The only app and website to locate children’s activities for newborns to 18 years right across the U.K. Here’s their story.
Chris Ryu – The Atom Club
“There is no greater satisfaction than seeing your students faces when they learn a new life skill and that alone makes it all worthwhile.”
I’m a software engineer and business owner with a passion for making science fun for kids. We started Atom Club just a year ago with an online only service to keep costs down, crowdfunding to cover costs and now we’re just about to open a dedicated 2,200sqft centre.
Starting a club can of course be difficult, but if you feel passionately about the subject, you’ll always find a way to make it work.
Our project is very ambitious and getting funding has definitely been harder than I expected. At one point I genuinely started to think that maybe I was wrong – maybe there’s not a need for the project. However, I kept going with some smaller plans to build awareness funding it from my other business and all of a sudden it clicked. Once people could see that this project really is possible, they started supporting us. My advice is simple: Don’t give up on your dream, just find a way to make it work.
John Lilley – Junior Game Creators & Gamewagon
“The secret is ensuring you can commit body and soul to your passion and then find a way of making it fun, inspiring and convenient to both the kids and their parents.”
Gamewagon, founded in 2013, has delivered over 9,000 age appropriate video game parties and is the UKs firm family favourite with a fleet of eleven Gamewagon’s covering London, South East, West Midlands and South West. While Junior Game Creators helps children nurture an interest in computer science by teaching them how to create their own video games, make apps and programme robots. Thousands of children have been to their school holiday tech camps and attend their term time after school clubs.
Having organised kids themed parties from Abba to Zip Lines for my son and daughter, I finally took the plunge and created the 21st century bouncy castle…without the whiplash! I combined it with my real passion; teaching kids to code using our fleet of 11 Gamewagon’s during the week for education, and having fun at birthday parties at the weekends.
Following your passion and interests is the key. If you do not bounce out of bed for what you do, don’t do it. Fifteen years as a football coach taught me that what kids play is not my game, it is theirs. As a coach you should let the game be the teacher. This message is not mine it is the English FA’s but it rings true in everything we do at Gamewagon and Junior Game Creators.
There are always surprises, obstacles and events that cannot be planned for; theft, crashes, floods, even a fatal illness of a valued employee. Your support network, especially family, help you stay grounded on the highs and stop the lows getting in the way of your original vision.
Adrian Cuthill – Rugbytots
“I have been lucky to know enough good people in the rugby family who help, advise and support me.”
I am a dad of 3 children aged 17, 15 & 14. I started my Rugbytots business April 2016 as I had lost interest in my job as an insurance broker.
Rugbytots is an activity for boys and girls aged between 2 and 7 years. We play lots of fun active and engaging games developing catching passing kicking and agility skills. We also develop TeamWork colour shape and number recognition in addition.
The biggest issue is ensuring I have quality coaches who understand what working with small children involved. We look for energy, fun, enthusiastic coaches who inject an element of crazyness and control.
Charlie – Saturday Music Club
“To see them running through the door on Saturdays so keen to get playing music, is the biggest feeling of achievement and pride.”
We launched our Saturday Music Club for children from 4 upwards last January with just 20 children, and we now have nearly 100 children learning music with us.
I used to go to a music club in Ealing where I grew up that I loved when I was young and we wanted to start something similar here in Bristol at our rehearsal studio.
With music receiving less and less funding in schools, we felt there was a need to make it accessible to as many children as possible so we bought all the instruments so that parents didn’t have to, and we priced our lessons from £6.50 per half hour to make it easily affordable. One of the unique things we created at the club was our Taster Terms; an 8 week long course in the 4 different instruments we offer, to introduce children to all of the instruments and let them see which ones they prefer.
Two weeks after we launched SMC, my wife developed a complication with the pregnancy and a disc in her spine collapsed, leaving her in hospital for a few weeks after having an emergency caesarian and major spinal surgery at the same time (a world first).
Trying to keep on top of our new club venture as well as being in hospital daily was a huge struggle but we had great staff who helped out loads and very understanding parents who have supported us. We accepted that we made mistakes and there were weeks where things were a bit chaotic and classes didn’t quite happen on time but we were very honest with everyone about the reasons why and people respected that.
My advice to any dads looking to start a kids club is to make it as easy as possible for parents by being organised, providing everything on-site, texting updates and reminders. Having a space with plenty of parking and doing regular promotion definitely helps. We found the best ways to promote the club were through Facebook community groups, local and door drop publications. Also ask for reviews as you go – most of our new students now come through word of mouth from other SMC parents which is fantastic.
My message to other dads? Find a need in your community and provide something that enriches and develops kids and a nice space for parents to take a bit of time out (having a cafe with good strong coffee helps!).