Q&A: Maddy Carrick, Dreamcatcher, Crystal Palace

Tell us a bit about Dreamcatcher and what you do: We lovingly call Dreamcatcher ‘The Imagination Hub’. Our premises lie in the heart of the Crystal Palace triangle and comprise a play cafe on the ground floor and party and class rooms on the first floor. We run daily children’s classes during the week and at the weekend we host birthday parties. While there’s lots going on, the most important thing is that we’re community hub where families can meet, relax and spend quality time together.

What is the inspiration behind Dreamcatcher?: The name Dreamcatcher is inspired by my favourite children’s book, Roald Dahl’s The BFG – a wonderful celebration of imagination, magic and adventure. We used to just run birthday parties, entertaining at parties, fetes and events – anywhere that there was a gaggle of children. Then we were given the opportunity to have a temporary home in Stoke Newington, where we used to host parties, before moving south of the river to our own special space in Crystal Palace.

What is the highlight of running your business?: Definitely the people. Kim and Alice who work in the cafe are just brilliant. They’re always upbeat with smiles on their faces, ever ready to pick up a toy train, pop extra marshmallows in a hot chocolate or make a round of teddy toast. Our customers are incredible too. I can’t believe it’s only been four months since we opened and we all feel we’ve made so many friends in such a short space of time. We have daily regulars who pop by with their little ones, which is just so lovely. We’ve also had lots of first steps taken and first words said in the cafe. I think we may have to find some way of recording them.

What’s next for Dreamcatcher?: Our summer play-schemes. At the end of August we are hosting two Play Camps: Spy School and Uptown Junk – a recycling adventure. We’re also looking forward to Halloween and Christmas. Beyond that, who knows? It would be incredible to see more Dreamcatchers in other neighbourhoods.

What are your favourite kids’ shops in London?: That’s a tough one as there are so many. In Crystal Palace there is the gorgeous Papagaio, then closer to where I live in Brockley is the lovely Gently Elephant. I’m also dying to pop in to Ottie and the Bea in Blackheath – a good friend of mine has told me that I would love it in there.

Describe your perfect day in London with kids in tow: Call me mad but I do love to spend a day off with my friends and their little ones. I love catching up with my friend Georgie and her little one year old, Gracie, with a lovely sunny walk in Greenwich Park, followed by a long lunch in Greenwich while Gracie naps. Perfect.


Photo credit: Rachel Rimell