A GREENOCK soft play centre has closed with the loss of 12 jobs and its owner £250,000 out of pocket.

Allan Ramsay ploughed in a quarter of million pounds to set up his business - Kids R Us - last September but it is now going into liquidation.

He and his partner Angela Docherty sold their family home in Inverkip to fund their dream but sadly just over a year later they have been forced to throw in the towel.

Allan, 45, told the Tele how he gave up his job in the oil and gas industry to open the play centre at East Breast, just off Dalrymple Street.

He said: "I was sick of travelling and wanted to be nearer home.

"It was my dream to own my own business.

"I put my heart and soul into it.

"At the beginning, we were here 8am until 7pm, seven days a week to get the place up to standard.

"I put all my savings into it and sold my home.

"We did it for the right reasons and invested a quarter of a million.

"This place was an empty shell, when we bought it."

Dad-of-three Allan says free childcare and a new council soft play area at Boglestone Community Centre in Port Glasgow contributed to its downfall.

He said: "Parents used to bring their children in the morning before going to nursery, or bring them in the afternoon.

"We've noticed a dramatic drop in sales.

"I'm all for full time nursery places and free childcare if parents can't afford it but it's has a knock on effect.

"We were trying to provide something like this for the local community but if they don't use it they will lose it.

"The council soft play areas can offer cheap deals seven days a week, they can charge a minimum price."

Angela who gave birth to daughter Penny, seven months ago, says she is devastated the business has gone bust.

She said: "I'm gutted.

"We've spent nine months of time and effort as well as money to get this place ready.

"I'm devastated, I can't believe it.

"When we started we were here every single day and you build up a rapport with the children and their parents.

"Allan didn't even take a full day off when I had the baby.

"It's just been circumstances.

"People are feeling the pinch but if they don't support local businesses, bit by bit the town is going to end up empty."

Allan said he even tried paying £2,500 for an advertising billboard but this didn't boost business.

He started working in the oil and gas industry down south in May to subsidise wages for a long as he could.

Allan said: "Our staff have been brilliant and have been very supportive.

"I feel terrible that it has happened in the run up to Christmas."

Mr Docherty said he had taken advice from his accountant and was advised that they couldn't continue the ways things were.

The centre closed its doors on Friday, following a Halloween Party the night before which was really busy.

Angela said: "I'm an emotional wreck and cry all the time.

"I will miss our customers and our staff."