Kids’ rides company uses grant to go cash-free

Based in Spennymoor, County Durham, Janet and John Kiddies Rides Ltd provides children’s rides, penny press machines and vending machines to service stations and visitor attractions across the UK.

Traditionally, the firm’s busiest time of the year falls between Easter and October, however the 2020 pandemic resulted in a nearly 70% reduction in turnover as people stayed home and attractions closed, or were required to limit the numbers of people visiting.

Previously, the rides and penny press machines have been coin-operated. The pandemic highlighted the need to transform the business into a cashless model, ready to begin operating at full capacity once again when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

Director, John Turner, applied for support from the North East Business Support Fund which is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund and Northern Powerhouse, and the business was awarded a grant of £3,000.

The grant from NBSL allowed the business to invest in new cashless systems which allow people to pay for the ride using contactless payment or via a smartphone app. The new payment systems will be fitted to existing rides in January and February 2021, ready for them to be rolled out to service stations and tourist attractions in time for spring, which the team hopes will once again be the start of its busiest time of year.

John Turner said: “This new technology will not only allow us to move to a safer, cash-free model, it also means that we plan to take on more staff at our head office in the new year to manage the new systems.”

“If this support hadn’t been available, we wouldn’t have been able to invest in this new equipment and go cash-free,” said John Turner. “This investment will make us stronger in the long term and will future-proof parts of our business by improving the longevity of our equipment.

“We’ve appreciated this help in unprecedented times, and are hopeful that we’ll secure new contracts in 2021, despite the current uncertainty.”

The North East Business Support Fund is administered by North East Enterprise Agency NBSL

NBSL is approved by BIS, Customer First, and Investors in People and has a team of experienced accredited business funding advisers, who work with people and businesses across the North East to identify solutions that aid development and growth.

NBSL relaunched The North East Business Support Fund (NEBSF) in 2018. The inaugural round of funding was launched in 2012, since then NBSL has provided funding and support to businesses from an array of sectors spanning all corners of the region with a recent impact report finding that the fund has yielded an impressive £4.40 economic boost for every £1 invested.