WHEN Hollie Dunne started her music classes for babies and toddlers it was at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic and via the magic of Zoom.

Less than two years after she was able to have face to face classes for little ones in Winnington and she’s winning awards – Popcat’s Music Time is Mid Cheshire’s Best for Kids 2023.

Each week, we will be searching for the best Mid Cheshire has to offer in different categories and we’ve given out 15 awards for 2023.

The winners so far:

Best for Hair – Oliver Gibney Hairdressing

Best for Pies – Ka Pie

Best for Nails – Samantha Dean Nails and Makeup

Best for Roast Dinner – The Red Lion in Little Budworth

Best for Cocktails – Grape and Bean

Best for Breakfast – Kanya Bistro and Bar

Best for Fitness – Simon Daniels

Best for Fish and Chips – The Corner Fish and Chip Shop

Best for Tattoos – Ink FX Tattoo

Best for Pizza – Oakwood Smoke and Dough

Best for Pets – Willowsway Cat Rescue

Best Independent Shop or Business – The Style Hut

Best for Desserts – Layers Treats

Best for Beauty - The Beauty Spot

Voting for Mid Cheshire’s Best Gym is currently taking place and we’re also looking for nominations in our latest search - Best Beer Garden.

Next on the list was the search for Mid Cheshire’s Best for Kids and Popcat’s Music Time took the latest crown.

Hollie Dunne has been a Popcats teacher for just two years

Hollie Dunne has been a Popcat's teacher for just two years

The business started in Wirral in 2014 and was turned into a franchise a few years later with Hollie taking on the Northwich postcode CW8 franchise in January 2021.

Hollie said: “When I started my Popcat’s journey we went straight into lockdown and my first ever classes were on Zoom, which was tough for a new business, but I still enjoyed them.

“In April 2021, when life began to open up, I moved my classes to halls with restricted numbers and then in the September I could truly start my business.

“Classes became pay as you go so there was no need to book and I was able to offer under six months free and siblings at half price.

“It was great to be able to use all our resources and welcome so many families through the door, without having to book.

“Our franchises work on a postcode basis so I can only deliver my classes in the CW8 area and I’ve held classes in Barnton, Sandiway and Winnington over the last two years.”

Parachute fun at Popcats

Parachute fun at Popcat's

Hollie has lived in Northwich all her life having been brought up in Barnton and moving to Winnington five-and-a-half years ago.

She worked at Barnton Community Nursery and Primary School for four years as a nursery teacher.

Hollie said: “I was a teacher for 13 years, mostly teaching early years.

“I loved working with children but having three of my own I found a teacher’s work-life balance wasn’t for me.

“I needed something that worked for our family and that’s when I found Popcat’s.

“I knew it was the perfect job for me – well, if you can call it a job!

“I can choose my own working hours to fit around my family and never have that Sunday night dread!

“Popcat’s has changed not only mine but my family’s life.

“I love it and have never looked back.”

Hollie has party packages with Popcats

Hollie has party packages with Popcat's

Popcat’s offers fun but educational classes for babies and toddlers aged from birth to five years with older children enjoying sessions during the holidays and at weekends and Hollie also offers party packages.

Hollie, who is 38, said: “I’ve made so many friends and met so many different families with Popcat’s.

“I’m so lucky I get to see so many children grow and develop.

“Popcat’s is different to other classes because you don’t have to book - you can literally turn up on the day.

“It’s educational and designed by a teacher so it covers all areas of learning in the Early Years framework.

“All classes follow the same structure so the children know what’s coming next, which has a huge impact on a child’s development.

“During class, we use familiar nursery rhymes so all parents, careers and grandparents already know the songs.

“We sing and dance and use toys, instruments, a parachute and bubbles and always finish with a story.

“Running classes throughout the holidays helps families keep their little ones entertained when they’re not in school.

“I remember, when my children were little, it was hard to find things for them to do during the holidays, especially to cater for three different ages.

“I also offer SEND classes which are smaller classes - only eight per class - for children who need a quieter, calmer experience but they still have the opportunity for fun.”

But what do families think about Popcat’s? Why did they think they should win our latest Best of 2023 title?

One nomination said: “Hollie is amazing!

Babies and toddlers love the sensory aspects of Popcats classes especially the bubbles

Babies and toddlers love the sensory aspects of Popcat's classes especially the bubbles

“This is such a good class and she brings enthusiasm every week – she’s so passionate about her job.

“Hollie really brings even the shiest of children out of their shell.”

Hollie said: “The best thing about my job is that it doesn’t feel like a job.

“I see so many families grow, develop and become friends and I feel so lucky to bring joy to so many children’s faces. I wouldn’t change it for the world.

“When I found out I was shortlisted for Best for Kids 2023, I was overwhelmed.

“It was amazing to think that so many people love my classes and me!

“I am truly grateful to everyone who has been to my classes, shared their experiences and recommended my classes.

“You are all amazing and your support is much appreciated - I would not be here without you.”

For more details go to facebook.com/popcatsmusictimenorthwich