A SOFT play area is staging a summer festival to provide fun for families that can't go abroad for their holidays.

Alistair Burnett, manager of Kidz About in Westlea, is thrilled to be having the outdoor event with a different theme each week to give people something to do over summer break.

It's the first festival for the firm, although staff ran a small event last August when people weren’t allowed indoors. It turned out to be very successful so they decided to organise a bigger version this year.

He said: “It has been a very tough 18 months for us so it’s great we can do something positive.”

“We had plans to do it last year and we bought some stuff for it. We had a bouncy castle and made sure it was safe with limited numbers. So it was a test to see if people wanted to do it again - it was really well-received. This is a step-up from our usual realm of what we would do.”

Despite coronavirus restrictions relaxing from today the festival will be following Covid-safe measures, although mask-wearing will be optional.

“There will still be measures as we’re not going to disregard them,” Alistair said. “We will still have regular cleaning and hand sanitizing stations as well as reduced numbers.”

“We will be outdoors so it’s far safer than being indoors.”

Kidz About will be offering three time slots throughout each day with timed performances. People can book online and there will be some turn up and play sessions.

“It will be a good event for the summer with staycations being popular. For kids this is something really good to do so for people staying at home we have something to keep kids entertained.”

“From a business point of view, we have heavily invested to put it on so we hope people come back.”

The five-week festival will have different themes each week, kicking off with princesses and superheroes on July 26. This will be followed by world of magic, circus skills, a petting zoo and dinosaur week.

There will be a big top with a range of activities. It will also have a bouncy castle, football goals, a disco DJ and shady areas for people to enjoy a picnic.

“We’re quite big into putting events on for children and having a good time so it’s a win, win for everyone,” Alistair said. “We’re really excited to put it on and the timing of it is great because we can celebrate things reopening. It’s good trade and it brings kids and families together again.”

“As households can mix it may have been a long time since people have met up and some families who haven’t seen each other for a long time. We’re happy we can celebrate Swindon being back together.”