After a career of shift work taking 000 calls, then the birth of two kids, you could understand the need for a job that was a little more ‘fun’ and ‘lighthearted’. For Bayside mum Cathy and her husband Tony, the answer was to start a playcentre! They are now the proud owners of Lollipop’s and Crazy Climb in Noble Park.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your family.

I am a mum to two amazing children, Abbey aged 15 and Grant who hits double digits turning 10 in August. I have been married to my husband Tony for 23 years and we work together side by side in the business and to our credit haven’t killed each other yet!  

What were you doing before Lollipop’s and Crazy Climb Noble Park? 

My life before playcentres and indoor rock climbing centres was a very different one. I used to work at 000 for Fire and Ambulance.  The shift work was gruelling and the jobs were more often than not very sad, it isn’t like people are calling on the best day of their lives. During my time there I received a medal for my contribution during the Black Saturday fires. Although this was a very challenging job, when you were able to give someone the tools to help deliver a baby or perform CPR to save a life, the fulfilment can’t be expressed or quantified. Doing this job and the training I received also gave me the tools and knowledge to save my own son’s life. When he was 18 months old he aspirated and stopped breathing, I performed CPR and resuscitated him until the ambulance arrived, longest and most traumatic night of my life and I still think I carry the scares from that event.

What made you go into the playcentre business?

We decided to go into the play centre business because after my previous role, I wanted to be surrounded by kids laughing and happiness all day and what child’s laughter isn’t infectious? I was passionate about customer service, which is definitely something lacking at the moment. I wanted parents and kids to be able to go to a place to play where they were welcomed, felt safe, comfortable and more than just a customer, but part of our family. I wanted that for our staff too.

What did your children think about mum and dad running an awesome indoor playcentre?

Our kids thought we were rock stars… for about 5 minutes, now it is boring to go to work. Although my daughter, Abbey, now works with us and is by far one of our best assets to the business. Grant also helps out at the end of the day collecting balls and tidying up!

Tell us a bit about what kids can expect when they visit.

We certainly deliver when it comes to ensuring kids have the time of their lives. Our huge centre includes the amazing Crazy Climb Indoor Rock Climbing facility and our enormous Lollipop’s Playland in the same building. It’s got everything kids could possibly want for hours of healthy fun. We’re open 7 days a week and cater for toddlers, pre schoolers and school aged children.  

It can’t be all work, play is essential for healthy growth. Lollipop’s offers an exciting arena where children can fully enjoy themselves including climbing, sliding, jumping, spinning and our mechanical car ride is a crowd favourite. We have themed party rooms and also run disco and Build a Bear parties with a retail outlet inside the venue, not to mention the great school holiday activities that are always offered.

Crazy Climb which is under the same roofline but a separate section and is a fun and challenging indoor rock climbing arena with 26 individual climbs of varying difficulty and themes.  

We want people who come to our centre to feel welcome and being treated to the best customer service. We want them to enjoy a clean, safe and fun day out as a family and walk away feeling like they are important to us.

What’s your favourite thing about being a mum?

Definitely the hugs are number one. Grant is a massive hugger. There are morning hugs, after school hugs, before dinner hugs and 10 minutes after the before dinner hug….. yes he names the hug as he is giving them to you. A few other things, I love that my daughter comes to me for advice and support about difficult friendship situations or just general things teenagers go through. She told me over the weekend I was her best friend, not at school, which is gorgeous. And my all time favourite is embarrassing them beyond words and us all sitting around making fun and laughing at each other, within reason of course.

Where do you love to hang out as a family?

We love going to the movies, out to dinner and stage shows. We can’t wait to see Harry Potter together in August, although I did have to sell my left kidney for those tickets!

And finally, can you share with us what being a mum has taught you?

It has taught me to never take myself seriously, because my kids will point out all the stupid stuff I do. It has taught me that my house will never look like a display home again until my husband and children move out, and it has taught me that when playing catch with the kids, don’t “catch the floor” because they will never let you forget the time you fell over trying to catch the ball. Most importantly, and something I think mum’s don’t talk about because they are scared to admit the hard times, it has taught me that motherhood it is about 90% pain, torture, heartache, teeth pulling moments, for 10% of joy.

You can visit Cathy, Tony and the team at 6 Elonera Road Noble Park North.

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