The Playpen Cafe CIC

The Playpen Café CIC is a mobile pop-up play café and family support centre for children aged 0-5 and their parents and carers. Our social aims focus on parental and infant mental health and wellbeing. For children we seek to provide a stimulating, imagination-based play and learning environment that supports their social and cognitive development. For parents (particularly mothers, who make up 95% of our adult beneficiaries), we aim to provide a sanctuary where they can access both informal peer support and more structured support in the form our of our parental mental health and wellbeing classes’. Our play cafes centre around a large playroom and a welcoming parent-friendly café – a modern, welcoming, and quality catering experience, where parents want to spend time and can relax with their children and social group. We have playworkers on site who help engage the children and allow caregivers a break to either simply enjoy a cup of coffee with a friend or take part in one of our classes.

Our organisation all runs a meals for the elderly programme of work called Lunch Club at Home. Across Clackmannanshire and South West Perth & Kinross, we offer café-on-your-door food delivery, and befriending service, reducing loneliness and isolation to some of the most vulnerable in our community. We are also developing our next project for these beneficiaries – Love Lunch Club, which will be a series of sit-down Lunch Club events with exciting activities and guests.

Current opportunities

The Playpen Café run pop-up play cafes for the under 5s and their parents and carers in community spaces. They work with a variety of children’s classes providers – baby yoga, music and movement, crafts etc. and follow this with outdoor play sessions. The group's social aims focus on providing a positive play experience for early years children where they can socialise and develop. They also strongly focus on the needs of the parent and seek to create a safe and welcoming space where they can benefit from vital peer support and relax in a friendly environment with really good quality food and drinks. Post lockdown, these sessions have become even more important and valued in the community as young families have been unable to access this type of opportunity to come together. Volunteers help to set up the outdoor play area with toys and the outdoor parents eating area ready to welcome them once the initial 30 minute baby class is finished. Volunteers have a role welcoming the families and making them feel comfortable, taking orders for hot drinks to be ready after the class. Volunteers make the drinks and plate-up the home-baking we bring in, taking these outside to the families at the tables. There is an element of clearing and cleaning of the dishes and then packing away the toys etc. again at the end of the session. The tasks themselves are simple – the key (and important part of the role) is to make the families feel welcome and at ease. Sessions run from 8:45 to 12:30 on Fridays.

The Playpen Café set up the Lunch Club at Home project during the first Lockdown. They deliver hearty home cooking to the over 65s in Clackmannanshire twice a week and offer a doorstep befriending service. Their core aim is to reduce loneliness and isolation in the elderly community and offer nutritious, easy to prepare meals at home. The Playpen are looking for people to help prepare the meals in their community kitchen. The kitchen is manned by a four-person team– one chef and three volunteer helpers. The volunteer helpers support the chef to prepare soup, casseroles, puddings and cakes. There is a lot of chopping, peeling, measuring, stirring, portioning and packing. It is a lovely friendly atmosphere with great camaraderie among the team. The shifts are on Mondays or Wednesdays, either 9:30 to noon, or noon to 2:30. Full induction is given.