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Tiny Tredegar is a hit with youngsters

Kimberley Stephens

The mini-Tredegar or The Little Role Play Town as it is known, boasts a replica of the town’s iconic clock, as well as its own ‘shops’ and play areas, offering an imaginative and stimulating experience for youngsters.

Set up by secondary school teacher Kimberley Stephens, the venue is proving a hit since it opened earlier in the year, drawing in youngsters and their families from a wide radius, and the aim is to open more such centres In the future.

The pretend town was launched with the help of a £1000 business support grant administered by Tata Steel subsidiary UKSE and Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council.

Kimberley realised there were just three similar centres in other parts of Wales, and that the location in an unused building in Sirhowy Industrial Estate was perfect for her plans. She describes the tiny town as “an innovative experience in the Blaenau Gwent area, where young people can engage in imaginative and purposeful play.”

The ‘town’ is set up to encourage role play learning. Surrounding the clock are six ‘shops’ and themed rooms covering healthy eating, a vet, Tredegar of the Future and even a pretend electric vehicle charge point.

Kimberley says that role play is an important part of early learning. “Some of the benefits include developing imaginative communication and social skills, collaborating with others, developing empathy and self -awareness, and having fun at the same time.

“Things have gone very well since we launched in June and we are building a great reputation. My aim is to open more venues like this in other parts of Wales.”

“We are also very keen to work collaboratively with local schools to set up workshops,” she added.

A café and viewing gallery looks down on the play area, and the venue can be hired for private parties and events. Themed sessions include Mini Masterchef pizza-making and messy play encourages baby artists. A busy schedule of events is planned for Halloween and Christmas.

UKSE Manager in Wales Glyn Thomas, said: “We are very pleased to have worked with the local authority to have supported this excellent and imaginative project, which is an asset to the community. We wish Kimberley every success for the future.”

Councillor Dai Davies, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Regeneration and Economic Development Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council commented: “This very clever and innovative business is so refreshing after over a year of lockdown and restrictions.

“We are keen to support businesses across all sectors in Blaenau Gwent so that as restrictions as eased, they are able to make a strong recovery from the pandemic. The community and local children will be able to enjoy these facilities which combine learn and play at the same time, which is a great mix. I feel confident that The Little Role Play Town will have a big future.”