In the autumn of 1997 St Peter’s Church was offered what remained of ‘Pipsqueaks’ equipment. The following January Lulu Button started a mother and toddler group for St Peter’s as a service to the community and called it Little Gems. It soon became very popular, and with increasing numbers of new mums, the baby corner at Little Gems was under pressure so something had to be done. In September 1999 Lulu secured St Peter’s church hall to hold an afternoon group and ‘Baby Gems’ was born. At that time there were no other groups especially for mums and babies apart from NCT events.
Time rolled by and the babies grew and it wasn’t long before the mums were asking for different toys, space and a group where their children could play and explore without trampling on babies . So, in 2004 ‘Mini Gems’ started on Mondays. The three groups continued for some years and it was only in the summer of 2010 with the advent of the Children’s Centres and many more mums returning to work that ‘Baby Gems’ finally closed.
There have been holiday clubs, girls nights out, parties, picnics, outings, visits by police, firemen, fire engines, vicars, health visitors, entertainers, sales and we have hunted for thousands of chocolate eggs over the years. There have been lots of ups and downs, much fun, laughter, tears and of course many births; so many children have come and enjoyed time at Gems. It is a delight I see many of them come to St Peter’s for end of term services.
The Gemmery, as it is now called, continues with Lulu Button running Mini Gems on a Monday and Little Gems on Tuesdays.
Useful links and ideas
Soft Play Centres
Mini-me's - Sandown Ski Centre, Esher
Ragamuffins - Sandown Golf Club, Esher
Wizz Kidz - Desborough Island , Walton-on-Thames
Piglets - Hersham
Jumping Jacks - Hersham
Busy Bees soft play - Squire's Garden Centre Cafe, Shepperton
Xcel Leisure centre - Walton
Kidabulous - Sunbury
Good day out with kids
Garson's Farm - Pick your own (summer) - West End, Nr Esher
Bocketts Farm - Leatherhead
Hownslow Urban Farm - Feltham
Alice Holt Forestry Commision - Farnham
Rural Life Centre - Farnham
Bedfont Lakes - Feltham
St. Peters Church - Hersham