Hampshire-based entrepreneur, Marnie Waller, has received a £25,000 Start Up Loan, delivered by SWIG Finance, to contribute towards bringing her children’s play centre business to life.

The business, Wonder – A World of Imagination, is an interactive imaginary play space for children and families and is located in the Meridian Centre in Havant.

Wonder is led by Marnie and her husband Gavin, both of whom have significant experience working within Commercial Asset Management and Retail Marketing.

The funding has supported the fit-out of the new premises, as well as other initial start-up costs.


Whilst there are other concepts locally, such as soft play and trampoline parks, Wonder offers something on a theatrical level, encouraging children to learn through play in an immersive environment.  Wonder, World of Imagination is a mini town with a mixture of reality-led concepts such as doctors and supermarkets, and innovative themes including Superhero HQ, Dinosaur Ranger, and Space Station.

Wonder opened its doors to the public in November and attracted over 1,000 families within its first two weeks, with bookings into late 2023 already secured.

Of the funding, Co-Founder Marnie said “Since Gavin and I became parents, we were disappointed with the leisure activities available for young children and we wanted to change that by creating something new. Equally, providing a family-friendly place where parents and caregivers can enjoy quality food and drink without compromise. Start-up costs for this business were high and without the help of external funding, starting this business may not have been possible”.

SWIG’s Start Up Loans Manager, Charlie Martin, supported the application. He commented “Marnie and Gavin are incredibly passionate about what they do and their dedication to seeing their business succeed has been clear from the outset. It’s great to see their hard work has paid off following their highly successful business launch”.

About Us

SWIG Finance is a non-profit company that supports viable South West businesses that can’t secure sufficient funding from their bank. By empowering SMEs and Start Ups to overcome their financial barriers, we are working to create a more balanced financial ecosystem.

We’re growing every year. In 2021/22, we lent £10.8m to 502 businesses, helping to create and secure over 1,000 jobs and generate £32.3m. For more information visit https://www.swigfinance.co.uk/social-impact-report-2022/

If you’d like an informal chat about your funding requirements, get in touch with our friendly and professional team to see how we can help: info@swigfinance.co.uk / 01872 227 932.

Find out more about

Find out more about