A SOFT-play centre in Ilkley has tentatively re-opened operating within stringent government guidelines.

Dan’s Den at Christchurch, which was closed for 25 weeks due to Covid-19, began welcoming back many familiar faces on September 9.

New restrictions mean they have had to massively reduce admission numbers and booking is now recommended via messenger or emailing dansden@outlook.com.

This hasn’t affected those who have chosen to visit. Nicola Philips, Albert’s mum said: “Absolutely fab to be back this morning! Facilities, staff and food all amazing as usual. Very clean, and safe. Thank you!”

Dan’s Den has implemented enhanced cleaning protocols, staff have under gone Covid briefing and they have taken the extra precaution of investing in a commercial fogger.

Dan’s Den at Christchurch is supported by a team of 20 volunteers ranging in age from 14 to 96. Centre Manager, Caroline Kelly, sees connection and belonging as key to Dan’s Den at Christchurch’ success internally and externally. She has ensured the voluntary and paid team have stayed connected with a weekly Zoom get together and a digital newsletter as well as distributing random acts of kindness to various volunteers throughout the closure. The most recent kindness act was an in-person surprise visit to Zoom champion Mike Dixon.

Now Dan’s Den is open again she is using WhatsApp to share photos, stories, jokes and updates as well as the continued use of the weekly newsletter.

Part of Dan’s Den at Christchurch’ mission is to provide a safe welcoming, non-judgmental supportive space. Offering family focused service, with a paid outreach worker whose role is to support those who visit. One of the loveliest forms of outreach offered is giving prayer shawls by way of a “welcome to the world” gift to newborns who visit. These shawls were originally knitted by Christchurch members. But over lockdown Dan’s Den volunteers and even the centre manager have picked up their knitting needles.