BOSSES at a popular soft play centre have been forced to make more than 50 staff redundant because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Rayleigh’s Megacentre workforce has been reduced from 67 to just 13 since the start of the pandemic in March because of the financial constraints lockdown and the following restrictions have caused.

Management at the soft play centre told the Echo they do not know what the future holds with most of Essex now under tougher coronavirus restrictions.

Catherine Wilcox, play operations manager, said the Metacentre’s main financial revenue stream has been wiped out because of the ban on households mixing. The 27-year-old said: “Our main source of income is children’s parties but that has been taken away. That can’t happen anymore.

“We’ve had a lot of upset children who have had their party’s cancelled.

“We just can’t afford to keep everyone on. With furlough ending and income almost non-existent, we’re really struggling.

“Some of our staff were here a very long time. We hope to bring them back.”

All of Megacentres profits goes towards the Active Christian Trust charity.

The site has also been running Rochford Council’s community helpline, with some volunteers still operating phonelines and distributing food packages to the vulnerable.

Mrs Wilcox said most of the volunteers are on standby if the helpline needs to kick into gear again.

A spokesman from the Megacentre, said: “The sensory, soft play and laser tag will be staying open for the present time.

“There will be changes to the bookings to accommodate for the new Covid rules.

“These are that for soft play you will only be able to sit at your table with members of the same household.

“For sensory the bookings will be only for three children and three adults only. For the laser tag you can book in for groups of the same household to play.”