THE owner of a children's soft play centre in Birkenhead has said she is at risk of closing in the new year after a "rapid decline in visitors".

Debbie Harris, from Moreton, opened Clown Around Soft Play in August 2019.

The business, on Beckwith Street in Birkenhead, "found it hard" at the beginning as there were many restrictions throughout the pandemic.

Speaking to the Globe, Debbie said: "In 2022 it all lifted and we picked up and were steady, but recently in the last six months we've just seen such a rapid decline in visitors.

"I think it’s down to a number of factors with the cost of living being the big one.

"There have also been a few other openings, not necessarily soft plays but other similar things  around us which have impacted us quite a lot."

Wirral Globe: Clown Around Soft PlayClown Around Soft Play (Image: Clown Around Soft Play)

Debbie has recently had to cut hours for her three staff members and has had to tell them that if things don't improve they will be without a job in the new year.

The 37-year-old said: "We’ve built such a lovely little place up, we’re quite small, but as children get bigger they grow out of coming to us.

"It's more of a community hub, we run it different to other places, we get to know our customers.

"If people aren’t coming through the door, we are going to have to close."

Wirral Globe: Clown Around Soft PlayClown Around Soft Play (Image: Clown Around Soft Play)

Over recent months, Debbie has held a free admission day once a month for parents to bring their children to use the soft play for free to "give back to customers" and show they "appreciate them".

Clown Around Soft Play caters to zero to seven-year-olds but is ideal for zero to five-year-olds.

They also hold private functions and kids' parties.

Earlier this week, Debbie took to Facebook to let people know about the risk of closure. 

She said: "I just needed to let people know the situation because people love coming who do use us.

"People have been upset about the news and it's emotional for me because parents have become my friends.

"This is the last shot and I've just got to give it my all."

To find out more, visit Clown Around Soft Play's Facebook page here.