Get ready to make a splash in The Fish Tank, the exciting new Centre for Early Years activity coming to Aycliffe Business Park in November 2019.

Newton Aycliffe is set to benefit from a £2 million pound development designed to bring a whole host of baby and toddler focused activity providers together under one friendly roof.

The new build is 400m2 and designed from the ground up to be a warm and welcoming hub of activity for local families. You’ll be able to enjoy swimming lessons in the 10 x 6m 32°C swimming pool, designed to be the perfect depth for baby swimming classes at 1.2m deep throughout. The two activity rooms will be hired out to baby, toddler and parent focused activity groups so there will be a wide variety of pre-bookable activities to enjoy. The operation will be ran from 56m2 of high quality office behind the scenes. All alongside a warm, welcoming coffee shop designed to be super baby friendly.

Penny Gordon, co-founder of The Fish Tank, said: “It has long been our dream to build a centre in our home town to give our local families a high quality venue to come and enjoy all sorts of activities for their little ones. We believe in learning through play and getting our little ones active from an early age. On top of that, we want to use the coffee shop space for parent support groups to provide a support network for families.”

There is a growing concern that our children are simply not active enough. We all know the importance of activity on our well-being, with a growing awareness of the importance of the first years of our lives. The most rapid development occurs in the first 1,000 days of life – a critical window for learning to see, walk, talk and think. We hope by building this centre, we can support parents and give the opportunity for our children to experience and learn through a variety of fun packed activities, all provided under one roof in the heart of Newton Aycliffe.

In addition to the classes on offer, another key focus of the venue is enhancing bonding and generally having great fun together. Penny adds: “With research showing that new mothers are less likely to suffer from post natal depression if they can gain support from their peers, that’s another reason why we’re very proud of what we are doing.”

The build has been privately financed by Penny and Paul Gordon, who have made Newton Aycliffe their home for the last 10 years.

Paul Gordon, co-founder of The Fish Tank said, “It was a monumental task to bring all the pieces together to enable us to secure the finance, but we’ve done it and are over the moon to start building”

Paul adds: “We are looking for activity providers to join us to ensure we have a diverse offering of classes available. We’re already in talks with several high profile businesses from baby swimming companies to parenting groups and learning through play classes. We’re planning to be able to offer a host of activities, all carefully selected to give people the widest choice and best selection of classes under one roof.”

Finance was secured through a LEADER grant aimed at rural development and backed by development finance through HSBC.

The entrepreneurial couple are backed up by a top team of professionals who bring a vast amount of construction experience. “Our special thanks go to John at Ashdan Consulting for guiding us through the design and development process and to Gradon architecture for giving us their architectural expertise. The build is now in the hands of Northern Bear Building Services who have worked tirelessly with us to ensure our dreams become reality.”

Neil Jukes, Managing Director Northern Bear, “We are looking forward to delivering another great project in the North East that will be a real asset to the local community when completed”.

The Fish Tank will be open to the public from November. For more information, please email or visit