Business is booming for two enterprising mums who are set to open a second successful business employing 20 local people – all in less than six weeks.

Rachel Clarke and Gill Ashcroft opened Southport’s Play Town in August and are set to expand their play centre with a creche and babysitting service on November 2nd.
The two friends who each have two young children were enjoying dinner one night and talking about looking for a flexible family friendly career when they realised the answer was lying tucked up in the bedrooms above.

Rachel who lives in Southport said:
“We both have very active children and the answer came to us almost immediately – “let’s open a play centre.”
The couple contacted the women’s enterprise agency, Train 2000 and scoured Southport looking for a suitable site and found a large area on the busy beachfront site at Ocean Plaza.

After refurbishing the building and completing essential health and safety qualifications the mums invited The Mayor of Sefton, Cllr Alf Doran to officially open the doors during the August Bank Holiday Weekend.

“We have had plenty of support from our partners and Train 2000 who have given us lots of practical advice and help over the past few months. It has been so busy we are both working 15-hour days but luckily we see lots of the children as they can spend some of the day with us,” said Gill.
The creche will open between 8.30am and 4.30pm Monday to Friday and the babysitting service runs between 6pm and 11pm on a Friday and Saturday evening.

She added: “All our staff are hightly trained and qualified to care for children between the ages of two to twelve – it means parents can enjoy some much needed me-time by shopping , watching a fim or enjoying a meal while their children are happily and safely entertained.”
And the two women don’t intend to stop there.

“We are busy planning our Halloween Ball at the moment but in the future we would like to franchise the business and open a Play Town in locations across the UK,” Rachel said.

For more information about the centre and its services call Rachel on 0754 591 4568 or visit

Caption:.Play Town.
Left to right, Mayoress of Sefton, Cllr Gill Cutherbertson, Gill Ashcroft, Rhian Pavitt of Train 2000, Rachel Clarke, Mayor of Sefton, Cllr Alf Doran.