A NINJA laser zone is being created at a popular children's attraction in York as part of major expansion plans.

The Web Adventure Park in Wigginton Road secured a Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) Grant, with help from the team at Make It York, to help fund the work.

The investment boost has already seen the launch of a new sensory area for babies and infants at the site, which was formerly known as Creepy Crawlies, as well as an improved food and drinks servery.

Owner Janice Dunphy said the developments aimed to ensure they remained successful in an increasingly competitive field.

The grant amounted to about £44,000, topped up by a loan from HSBC and savings. "We are spending about £160,000," said Janice.

With secured funds, the adventure park also plans to redecorate the whole site and create the new Ninja/Laser tag zone at the back of the centre. This will feature a mezzanine floor with a climbing frame and obstacle course for children aged five-plus.

"We want to make it interactive. We are looking at a new piece of equipment, called TAG, where the children use a wrist band and they can tag on to the frame to see how quickly they can do that course. We are also hoping to put in an interactive wall with different games and challenges. That will hopefully be ready by May."

The RDPE supports businesses with up to 40 percent contribution to help businesses improve their facilities and purchase new equipment.

Janice said: “We are grateful to Make It York for their help in securing the grant as well as HSBC for their financial support. In the competitive environment of leisure visitor attractions, we are grateful for the chance to continue to offer exciting new additions to the park for our loyal customers.”

Simon Middleton, business growth manager at Make It York, said: “I have been working with Janice at The Web Adventure Park for over a year to secure the development grant that will allow them to expand and improve the experiences they offer to their visitors. As part of the Make It York team, my focus is to support the existing local businesses and help them develop and grow, which is a key to York’s future prosperity.”

Janice who has been investing in the attraction annually since opening 15 years ago has worked with local traders and suppliers on the project, and plans to employ two new members of staff. The works are expected to be finished by Spring 2020.

"When we opened there was less big competition," she said. "We had half this space. We have expanded, doubled the space and created the outdoor area. Customers expect so much more because there's so much choice and competition. It makes you sharpen your pencils."

Janice who chairs the Family Entertainment Centre Association, added: "We are so grateful to the customers. I am not going to stop investing."

The new sensory area features lights, sounds, a soft padded floor and walls, bubble columns, mirrors, an illuminated ball pool with a mirrored ceiling plus a low-level roundabout as well as a black and white room for babies.

"We have the nursery across the road so they have exclusive use in the mornings," said Janice. "We will also have special times for SEND (special educational needs) children."

She said Simon Middleton's support had been invaluable.

"I rang him and told him what I wanted to do and asked 'what help can you find for us?' He did the research for the grant.

"He came up with a few options and supported us all the way through. Without him, we wouldn't have known we could actually get it.

"He was intrinsic to us finding the grant and giving us the confidence to do it. I would advise other businesses to contact Make It York and Simon Middleton."

For advice on business grants, contact Simon Middleton on 01904 551829 or email simon.middleton@makeityork.com