A Polish couple opens a cafe and children’s play area to bring the North Belfast community together | Wender Mind Kids

A Polish couple opens a cafe and children's play area to bring the North Belfast community together

A couple have opened a cafe and children’s playground in North Belfast to support the local community.

Originally from Poland, Maciej and Marta Zielinski opened Wild World Parties in February 2022.

They are rented out for private events on the weekends and are open during the week to provide a safe place for children to play while parents can have a coffee and socialize.

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The building from which they operate on Skegoneill Avenue just off Antrim Road was previously used for the Castleton Bowling Club. However, it remained derelict and derelict for seven years before the couple breathed new life into it, opening Wild World Parties in February.

Maciej and Marta knew they wanted to work with children but didn’t know in what capacity until they stumbled across the 350 square meter hidden gem. The building now has two rooms with bouncy castles and other inflatable games, as well as a café and a private children’s party room.

“I’ve driven by so many times but I never knew this place was here. I couldn’t believe it sat vacant for so long, it had been derelict here for seven years,” Marta told Belfast Live.

“We always wanted something for children. I work in a school and he is a swim coach, I used to be a childminder when my kids were younger We came across this place and just put two and two together.

Wild world parties on Skegoneill Avenue in Belfast.

“As parents of two kids, a Christmas kid and an October kid, we could never have bouncy castles for their birthday parties as the weather was always rainy or cold.

“For us, that option never existed and I know there are so many families here that don’t even have enough yards for their kids to play in. We wanted something very chilled here. The parents know each other and can sit with a little coffee, the children play, it’s nice and relaxed for families.

“This is a place where kids can be kids and play around while their parents can relax and watch and have their own time. Parents can befriend other parents so they don’t feel isolated.”

The couple said it’s always been important to them to create a welcoming space where the whole community can enjoy themselves. Shortly after opening, they began helping to organize charitable donations and get involved in local fundraising events.

Marta said: “At least once a month we aim to have some kind of community or charity event. Opening up the place to the local community was really important to us.

Marta and Maciej Zielinski.

“Shortly after we opened, we started raising funds for Ukraine. Since then we have hosted two more charity events so we are very happy to help and give back to the community.”

Maciej and Marta describe the new space as their “dream” and plan to host weekly quiet sessions for children with additional needs, as parents may fight for safe spaces to take them there for fun.

“We have a lot of parents who come to us and say they feel like they can’t go a lot of places because they’re afraid of being judged and they don’t feel comfortable, so we do quiet sessions, to be fair to everyone. At these meetings, everyone will be in the same shoes and more likely to come,” Marta said.

Marta and Maciej Zielinski.

“Maciej is a swim coach and most of his classes are with kids who are on the spectrum and we know how difficult it is for those parents to even talk to the other parents. So we want to create a space where they can feel safe and supported, being in the same place every week is a great way for parents and kids to build those important friendships.”

Based on the great feedback they’ve received, Marta said they’re both excited about what the future holds and hope to welcome people from near and far.

She added: “Over the summer we will have morning and afternoon sessions, we will announce this on our website and Facebook. We would like to see what needs exist in the area and will do our best to do so.

“We will be holding more sessions over the summer to ensure the children can keep busy over the holiday period. For weekends we are only renting out privately for the time being, but on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays we are doing this cafe at the moment and we will definitely be extending that soon.”


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