A CWMBRAN children’s play centre which made the Best of Welsh Business Awards finals just last month has announced its heartbreaking closure.

Treats N Play, based in The Parade, is owned by Jemma Cantelo and her younger sister Georgia, who acts as manager. 

The sisters took over the originally dilapidated, abandoned building in 2022 after it had stood empty for eight years, and transformed it into a delightful children's play centre and role play village.

Only last month, the business came in second place for Best Children’s Entertainment at the Best of Wales Business Finals.

In November 2023, the play centre won High Street Business of the Year at the South Wales Argus Business Awards.

However, after working "tirelessly" to keep the shop afloat, the constant rising costs has caused the much-loved small business to permanently close this Saturday (April 6).

Free Press Series: Jemma and her sister renovated the site from an abandoned and unloved building to a vibrant play centreJemma and her sister renovated the site from an abandoned and unloved building to a vibrant play centre (Image: Treats N Play)

In a statement, Ms Cantelo said she believed small businesses get “left in the dust while the bigger get bigger” as she thanked her customers for their “constant support."

She said: “Myself and all staff are heartbroken beyond words but we have been left no choice due to the constant rising costs.

“We worked tirelessly for four months to get the shop back up to trading standards after it being left sat empty for eight years, that cost us over £25,000.

“This put instant pressure on the business from day one. We reached out a few times for a little help but with no luck, no one wanted to know or cared.

Free Press Series: Treats N Play will sadly close on Saturday, April 6 2024Treats N Play will sadly close on Saturday, April 6 2024 (Image: Treats N Play)

“Our electric is now over £1,100 a month. Service charge have gone up due to works going on around town, unfortunately tenants have to suffer for this.

“We opened the play centre wholeheartedly for the children to come and enjoy, our sensory room is so popular we put 100 per cent into everything."

Ms Cantelo said she had tried "with every bone in my body" to make the business a success.

She added: “Every time we seem like it’s getting close we have another cost or something goes up. It just isn’t fair.

“I would like to apologise as I know we will have some sad children hearing the news.

“Thank you to each and every one of you that came through our doors for your constant support, amazing reviews and kind words.

“I plan to reset and try again in the future but for now take care we will miss you all so much.”

Jemma and Georgia’s mum Cheryl Hanks told the Argus her daughters have “put so much into business over the past two years.”

Ms Hanks said: “The business has won two awards and one of them was only a few weeks ago.

“Georgia worked at a nursery in Building Blocks in Fairwater for years, she left there to join her sister.

“They have both worked so hard but now she will have to find another job to support her family.”