In The Spotlight: The Play Cafe Sunderland

Situated on Station Road, Sunderland, The Play Cafe Sunderland is owned by Élodie Yeung, who took over the business in September 2019. Elodie said that, “I have always wanted to open a cafe, my original vision was a French cafe which is why i’m including more French options in my menu.” Elodie is a mother to two young children, Leo three and Olivia 18 months, “this meant that the play cafe was a perfect business for me at that time as I just live round the corner too”
Élodie was able to open her cafe for just six months after taking over before the lockdown hit and The Play Cafe was unfortunately closed, “I’d just found my feet and was really making progress before this happened.” When speaking about the COVID-19 lockdown Élodie told us that it had been a struggle because her two young children are off nursery and so she is juggling childcare with the revamp of her cafe, “I haven’t stopped! I look after my children until 12:00pm then my husband takes care of them while I come to the cafe for two hours and then I look after them again until they go to bed and a lot of the time I will come back in the evenings to carry on creating my vision”
A lot of changes have been made as Élodie has repainted walls, created wall art, painted furniture and reorganised the cafe toys and furniture, “Ive created a breast feeding corner and moved the tree to the corner of the room rather than the middle to create some more space. My next plan is to paint the alphabet on the blank wall” The Play Cafe have also been attempting to generate income whilst remaining closed, “I’ve been making afternoon tea boxes and a takeaway, delivery and drive-thru service”
Customers can order anything from the menu for takeaway, weekend delivery and drive-thru, “our delivery services have went really well and so this is something we plan on continuing on weekends as we are unable to host birthday parties on weekends at the moment” With notice of 24 hours, customers can order afternoon tea, cream tea and picnic boxes to pick up on the way to a day our with the children as an alternative to the standard picnic. As The Play Cafe is a short walk from Seaburn Beach, this would make a perfect stop on the way. Élodie told us that, “all our packing is recyclable so we are not damaging the environment whilst running this service”

 

During the lockdown, Élodie ran online French Rhyme classes for the children which generated an average of 500-1000 views per session, “my aim was to keep the cafe alive, I didn’t ask for any money – I just wanted to spread the word about what we do here at The Play Cafe and what classes we do provide for when we eventually reopen them”
When asked about her plans for reopening Élodie said that, “I would love to be able to offer some classes but I think it will be hard for social distancing, especially with the older children. I may have to consider opening classes for babies and pre-walkers as they can social distance and sit for classes such as sensory. For play areas, I may do two morning sessions and two afternoon sessions with deep cleaning in-between. It will be hard work”
Élodie said, “Sunderland Council have been amazing at answering any questions we may have and we got the Government grant no problem. I’m just waiting for a date we can open the play area. The only reason I’ve been able to open is because I can segregate the play area from the cafe but I’ve had to move all of the toys and books. The problem with that is I don’t attract families now but what im trying to tell people is that we are open for everyone for food and drinks to takeaway or sit in”
The Play Cafe are open for you to enjoy their delicious food or drinks so be sure to pay them a visit!
You can visit The Play Cafe on Station Road, Fulwell Sunderland. To get in touch with Élodie and the team to order any food and takeaway boxes – or ask any questions – you can contact them through the following social media links: