Local business owner, Leanne Joab, has been announced as a winner at the most prestigious awards for children’s activities providers; the National What’s On 4 Kids Activities Awards.
These pioneering awards were held at the magical Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter! on 25.11.2021 to celebrate their 15th Anniversary. Guests dined in the grandeur of the original Hogwarts™ Great Hall film set and enjoyed dessert on platform 9 ¾™.
Leanne is officially the winner of the ‘Most Loved Activity Leader in North England’ award with her business Drama Tots Durham North West, Consett and Surrounding Areas. Drama Tots UK also won and is officially the winner of the ‘Most Loved Performing Arts Activity’ award, which they are proud to have won consecutively over the past three years. This means they both received the most overall votes by parents and carers in their respective categories.
Prior to setting up her Drama Tots business, Leanne qualified from university with a degree in early childhood studies, and worked for several years in local childcare settings. She was also lucky enough to travel the world with P&O Cruises by working in the children’s clubs. She has now been running her drama and imaginative play business for nearly 3 years in community venues and early years settings around County Durham.
In March 2020 Leanne was forced to reinvent her Drama Tots business online against the backdrop of COVID-19. Leanne created a Drama Tots community on social media and provided hours of content for families to use, which included daily live videos, pre-recorded classes, daily themed activities, sing-a-long songs and bedtime stories. Parents who joined Leanne online were very appreciative to have a bit of normality, structure and positivity for their children during a difficult time, with one parent referring to Leanne as a “glimmer of hope in the darkness”.
The impact of COVID-19 on the children’s activities industry was reflected in parents’ support for the awards this year, with a massive 45,000 overall votes received across all categories.
Leanne said: “To win, ‘Most Loved Activity Leader in North England’ as my very first business award, especially at Hogwarts™, means the world to me; so much so that a selfie during my winner’s speech was needed to remember this moment forever. As I’m sure many will agree, the past 21 months have been a challenge however, when you have such amazing families like I do, who support your business and just love what you do, then it certainly makes the tough days a lot easier.
Looking ahead, Leanne aims to bring the joy of Drama Tots to even more children in County Durham, where they can learn, grow and have fun through performing arts.