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Former European head of operations for Cannons health and fitness group, Iain Westwater, is to launch a children’s leisure concept called !Gambado!.

“The children’s leisure market is currently fragmented, divided between individual operators and local authority leisure providers,” said Westwater.

“The industry is ripe for development and we want to be the first into the market with a premium product and a strong brand you can trust.”

The company aims to open two initial sites within the Greater London and Home Counties area, but plans an aggressive expansion to operate 20 facilities around the UK within five years.

!Gambado! has initial backing of £2m and expects sites to cost between £750,000 and £1m to set up.

Facilities will include fairground rides, recreation areas, programmed creative zones, party areas and relaxation areas for parents.

There will be no time limit on a child’s stay and everything except food and beverages will be covered by the entrance fee.

“We intend to expand the ‘adventure play’ concept of children’s leisure facilities to include educational and developmental activities,” said Westwater.

“We will be encouraging children to be physically active in response to government reports of a rise in obesity among children, but !Gambado! is not a children’s health club.”

The sites will be around 15,000sq ft in size with a capacity of 200 and primarily aimed at children between six months and 10 years old. Initially they will be open to the public on a ‘pay and play’ basis but Westwater said a membership system may be considered in the future when the concept is established.

“The sites will be supervised by trained and individually vetted staff, as our young visitors’ safety is paramount and vital to the future success of our business,” said Westwater.

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Former European head of operations for Cannons health and fitness group, Iain Westwater, is to launch a children’s leisure concept called !Gambado!.
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