Trafford play centre one of first in UK to offer free entry

A popular Trafford play centre has become one of the first of its kind in the UK to offer free entry.

The Hideaway, a charitable educational family play centre in Partington Shopping Centre, will replace the standard entrance fee with a ‘pay what you can’ option from Monday January 16, 2023, to help support local families.

The Hideaway is part of a charity who also opened one of six community hubs across the borough in 2020 with the help and support of Trafford Council, Trafford Housing Trust and other partners, in response to the covid 19 pandemic and now provides food and support to struggling families.

During the week, the centre will give visitors the opportunity to pay what they can to visit, play, and enjoy all the facilities and interactive sessions and, on Saturdays, a low minimum donation will apply.

The move to make the Hideaway free to enter coincides with the launch of a new second role play village which includes a doctors’, vets’, and large playhouse. The Hideaway café is available for all visitors, serving hot and cold meals in a Noah’s Ark themed family restaurant.

Ruth Lancey, CEO of the charity, said: “Making the Hideaway a place for every family to access and enjoy has always been a priority, but the introduction of a ‘pay what you can’ policy will truly make it available for everyone. I’m so excited to open up our fantastic resources to all, and I’m confident that those who can donate more will choose to do so. We know it’s a bold move, but at a time when so many families are struggling, I’m excited to do something different.”

Cllr Jo Harding, Trafford Council’s Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Strategic Partnerships, said: “The Hideaway is a fantastic facility which works extremely hard to help families through the cost of living crisis. The Council has made supporting people out of poverty a priority and places like the Hideaway are helping us do just do that. I wish them all the luck in the world with their new venture.”

The Hideaway, part of local charity Hidden Treasure Trust,  hosts a number of other projects supporting families and local residents, including the Hope Centre – one of the Trafford Community Support hubs. The Hope Centre provides food, energy, information, children’s clothing and much more for local people in need. The charity’s Family and Education team provides free classes, courses and support for families across the borough of Trafford. The move to open up the play centre for all supports the charity’s aims in helping children to learn and families to thrive. Hidden Treasure Trust runs The Hideaway and Hope Centre amongst other local projects. They first opened in 2018 and have quickly grown to become one of the most popular and unique play facilities in the North West.

The ‘Pay what you can’ policy is available from Monday to Friday with a minimum donation of £5 per child payable on Saturdays. Pre-booking is highly recommended via the website at From Mon 23rd January, The Hideaway is open from 8am for Early Risers and closes at 6pm. The trust welcomes donations and support for The Hideaway, the Hope Centre, and their other projects.

For more information, email




Posted on Monday 16th January 2023