Getting to Know…Little Nicholson Street Play Centre

The Little Nicholson Street Play Centre (LNSP) facility has been available to children for over 30 years and is a self-financing not-for-profit association. Our primary purpose is to be an informal, safe play zone where children from 0-5 and their parents/carers can come together to make friends, have fun and share ideas and experiences.

I recently caught up with Natalie Britton, President of the Volunteer Committee, who has been involved with the centre for 4 years.

Tell us a little about yourself
I grew up in Sydney and am a Mum of 3 little ones, Rosie 53/4, Jonah 2¾ and Thomas 9 months. I am married and work as a retail property consultant for a few fashion and jewelry brands.
What is unique about Little Nicholson Street Play Centre?
It’s a play space run by a volunteer committee and its members. It provides wonderful facilities – like our art room with paints and paper provided for the budding artists, and an awesome playroom with a myriad of different toys and activities. There is a quiet space for reading books, dress ups, and a huge kids kitchen space where little chefs can cook up a storm! It boasts a lovely outdoor area which is a luxury given we are all a bit restricted for space in the peninsula with swings, play equipment, a sandpit, and rolling cars.
LNSP creates connections between families, friendships for children, and the community at large. For a small fee, members are able to book the centre for exclusive use on Saturdays to hold birthday parties for their children.
Who can attend LNSP? Are there any membership costs?
People interested in attending the centre have various membership options ranging from a Premium Two Year Membership for $215*, our current Early Bird 1 Year Membership Special of $125*, or you are welcome to purchase our casual 5 Trip Member Ticket. Every membership includes your whole family! * All prices incur a $1.10 admin fee.
Being a NFP – do you run any fundraising events? Are there any planned for 2016 already? What are you raising funds for?
Yes we run 2-3 fundraising evenings each year, which we call our Parenting Series. We get amazing speakers to attend and chat about a subject that we think most families might be interested in or benefit from. Our current one is on Tuesday 9th February at the Cat and Fiddle Pub from 8pm. We have Claire Broad from Angelic Monsters as our guest speaker who is the author of “How to be the Big Person your Little Person Needs”. Tickets are $25 for members and $30 for non-members and we manage all the bookings online. It’s a great way to get out for an evening, learn a little and have a meal and glass of vino with some friends. All funds from this event go towards developing our newly planned toddler play area. We also hold a number of fun, free events for our members throughout the year including Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Christmas.
How can members help or become involved with the centre? Is there any help you specifically need?
We always need members to keep an eye on the centre when they are there by tidying up before they leave, and writing any comments in the book if something needs repair or attention. That includes helping new members understand how it all works and ensuring all visitors sign in for insurance purposes.
We run Working Bees 4 times per year so members can help to keep the centre looking beautiful. We would love more people to attend as we usually have more to do than we can achieve in the allocated time. Attendees can then receive $25 cash back incentive for helping out.
If someone was interested in becoming a member of the volunteer committee – how do they go about it?
We often post on our Facebook page that we have an opening or put signs up at the centre. We then ask them to email us and we take it from there. It’s a pretty relaxed approach. We try not to make any role on the committee onerous and especially try to create a culture of sharing the load across all committee members. We have all had babies whilst on the committee and that’s when other committee members step up and help cover that role for a few months if need be.
You’re a busy, working mum with 3 kids – why do you volunteer your time to LNSP? What makes you passionate about it?
I got involved because a friend was involved, which is generally how people tend to join the committee. I wanted to participate in something for the community and it felt like a great one to be involved with, given I had small children. I have met some amazing women and feel really good to be involved in something that families enjoy so much. People are always emailing me about how much they love the centre and how much they enjoyed having their party there on a Saturday. It’s great.
What are your mummy hacks to get you through the week?
I freeze fruit and veggie cubes so my 9 month old can feed himself at any meal if I am a little stretched at bath and dinner time. He loves the cold on his gums, so it’s a win-win.
My daughter had a bit of anxiety at school drop off, almost all the way through Kindy. I explained to her that we all have super mind powers and that she just needed to use hers to help her not get nervous. She thought it was funny and also a bit amazing that she had as “power” of sorts. I was just really trying to inspire her to positively think about her morning. It didn’t work at first, but one day she came home and told me she had no problem in the morning because she used her “mind powers”.
When in the car my daughter loves to play colour car spotting. We set the target (a lime green car, a yellow car and a bright blue car) and the first one to spot these is the winner. One day she said we had to find a rainbow car, and sure enough half way through the game a rainbow car went past, a clown/balloon delivery van – it was pretty funny.
I am happiest when…
I am watching my little ones interact and play with one another in our family space. I am also happy if I squeeze in a Bertoni’s coffee and quick whiz around Woolies by myself… ahhh caffeine and serenity – half an hour of bliss in my crazy day. Sad, but true!
Favourite Inner West spots?
Little Nicholson Street Play Centre of course!
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