A former Cantonese restaurant has been transformed into a playgroup and "family hub".

The former Sun Dragon Restaurant, on Blackburn Road in Acre, reopened as Jenni’s House in January.

Jenni Ringland submitted plans to the council last May to turn the restaurant into a children and parent facility with learning and playrooms, an café, book shop and consulting rooms.

Lancashire Telegraph: Jenni Ringland, founder of Jenni's HouseJenni Ringland, founder of Jenni's House (Image: Jenni Ringland)

The former teacher describes the site as a “new kind of playgroup” for children up to the age of five. It is also described as a “family hub” ideal for parents and parents-to-be to socialise.

The space includes a café, bookshop and events space called The Den, ideal for birthday parties, hosting baby yoga and beyond.

Jenni, who established Jenni’s House in 2021, said she has been refurbishing the site since last August and was attracted to the restaurant’s location.

She said: “The restaurant was in a good location, opening us up to welcome families from Rossendale and the surrounding areas.

“In our first two weeks we had families visiting from Ribble Valley, Rochdale, Prestwich and Bolton.”

Jenni said the first few weeks have been both tiring and exciting.

She said: “It’s been intense preparing everything and ensuring it is all ready for our little ones to explore and enjoy. The new additions of the café and bookshop, expanding Jenni’s House, have been positively received by our customers in the first few weeks.”

The idea for Jenni’s house came in 2020, when she was frustrated with the limitations of the pandemic and having to teach three-year-olds through a screen.

Jenni, who formerly managed a foundation stage unit at a Lancashire school, said: “I sought a change in direction and identified a gap in the local market for a different kind of playgroup after conducting a survey, completed by more than 60 parents in the Lancashire area.

“It was clear from the feedback that parents hoped for a class where they could interact with other adults, as often, this would possibly be their only adult contact throughout the day before a partner returned home in the evening.

“Jenni’s was born out of the idea that a new style of baby group was required for Rossendale. Many of the babies had been born during lockdown and had been unable to attend any groups.

"Combined with my extensive knowledge in early years, something special was in the works.”

By day, Jenni’s House is a free-play session, filled with wooden toys with story and song time, welcoming babies, toddlers and their caregivers to two-hour playgroup sessions.

The nature of the group gives parents, grandparents and carers the chance to chat, share tips and play with their babies. The café at Jenni’s House provides homemade dishes and cakes for all members of the community to pop in and enjoy.

By night, on alternate Wednesday evenings, Jenni’s House presents Bump Club sessions, offering parents-to-be practical advice and the opportunity to hear from guest speakers, including local yoga and pilates instructors, doulas, physios, hypnobirthing and baby carrying experts.