Member Profile: Learning SPACE
Learning SPACE (Specialised Products Aiding Child Education) is an award winning, educational toy and resource company, providing a wide range of inspiring products to meet the needs and interests of children of all abilities.
Name: Lorraine Mc Aleer
Business name: Learning SPACE
Location: Belfast & Online
- What is your business and what do you do?
Learning SPACE is an awarding winning advisory, educational toy and resource organisation.
It is a ‘Treasure Trove’ full of inspiring toys and resources to meet the needs and interests of ALL children and abilities.
From puppets to fidget toys, building blocks to bubble tubes!
Set up by two sisters (a social worker and teacher) from Omagh over 13years ago! Driven to make a positive difference on children’s lives sparked from meeting the needs of their amazing sister who has Sotos Syndrome.
A place to share knowledge and understanding through training and advice.
A place to easily access resources to suit your child’s /pupils needs.
All with the aim to make a positive impact on children’s lives.
Supporting families, schools and organizations throughout the UK and Ireland. We do this through our website, Belfast City Centre store, specialist advisors, training and 1:1 advice sessions.
As well as providing a wide range of learning and specialised resources, we also install sensory equipment, soft play, outdoor equipment and full nursery/school set-ups.
We have everything needed to create an innovative learning environment.
Check out our full range of sensory toys and equipment on our website www.learningspaceuk.co.uk
- How have you found trading this year? Have you adapted your business in any way?
Our retail store in the City Centre which is fondly described as a ‘Treasure Trove’ and a ‘Secret Gem of the City’ has taken a major hit. We even have a sensory nook for those feeling overwhelmed. Footfall has been greatly affected. We have implemented extra Covid cleaning standards, cleaning stations, clear guards at the till etc.
When the schools closed, we also took a major hit and now that they are back their buying pattern has changed due to the uncertainly of what is happening. As being a local supplier on the Education Authority recommended supplier list, it is important that they as well as any other organisations and charities, know that we are open and here to help.
We have become very online focused, streamlining systems and upgrading our website. With 10 members of the team all working remotely we have developed new ways of working that ensures we grow as a strong team and company. We have the determination and drive to come out the other end stronger.
- How important is it to support local and independent business?
We employ 13 passionate team members who all have their own stories and reasons to why they are driven to supporting children, especially those who need additional support. Having their jobs, knowing they are making a difference whilst also supporting their families is very important to them. By supporting local companies like ourselves helps ensure we can continue making that ripple effect.
- What one piece of advice would you give to entrepreneurs looking to launch?
Does it make you happy, and what is your Why? You have to choose something that no matter what happens you will still have the drive and passion to still keep going and find solutions.
Also…..you have to believe in yourself….if you don’t believe in yourself how can you expect others to believe in you.