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It’s play time without the hassle

A first-time Wodonga mum and hair salon owner is seeing first-hand the benefits of her side business - Soft Play Albury-Wodonga.

Brooke Beaston and her partner Hayden started a business hiring out soft play equipment at weekends soon after their son, Grayson, was born.

“Grayson is now 14 months old and is moving around lots so he enjoys playing on the equipment while we set up,” Brooke said.

“The confidence in his movement has grown so much and it’s rewarding to see him enjoy this type of sensory play.”

Soft Play Albury-Wodonga is the only business of its kind in the Border region, with Mildura being the next closest.

Brooke has received lots of positive feedback.

“Mums love that they can sit, relax and enjoy events while knowing that their child is in a safe environment that is enclosed,” she said.

“A friend’s baby has learned to fall safely using the equipment and another baby who was unsure on steps has learnt to crawl up and down our soft steps.”

The play equipment is aimed at newborns through to five-year-olds and includes two ball pits of different sizes, soft climbing blocks, a slide, seesaw, and a range of other climbing equipment that is set up inside a six-metre by three-metre plastic playpen.

Brooke opened her first hair salon at the age of 18 and grew her business, now owning a larger salon - Beaston Rose Hair Co in Mayfair Drive, Wodonga.

While the 24-year-old’s hairdressing business is flat out, she can pick her hours and work some weekends in the soft play business so she can be home at other times with her son.

Brooke confessed the business almost never got off the ground after struggling to initially secure insurance following a jumping castle tragedy in Tasmania.

“It took months to get insured but we got there and we were able to launch our business,” she said.

“I am now looking into permits for parks so I can do a mum and bubs day and mothers’ groups.”

The business has been hired for many events including birthday parties, christenings, family reunions, weddings, corporate events and daycare graduations.

The equipment can be set up on grass or concrete due to the use of thick mats and a gazebo is available for outdoor events.

Demand for the business is high.

“We have already booked half of our available weekends and it's only February,” Brooke said.

Prices start from $240 for a three-hour hire, including the set-up.

For bookings, visit softplayalburywodonga.com.au or phone 0467 777 876.

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Wodonga Council acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the First Peoples of the Country. We also acknowledge them as Traditional Owners and Custodians across various lands. We pay our respect to their Ancestors, Elders, children and young people. We acknowledge the strength and resilience of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and recognise their continuous connections to lands, waters and communities across the country.