The Levellers‘ co-founders Victoria Dunsdon and Sophie Dollar are on a mission to put balance back into parenting
What prompted you to start The Leveller and how did you choose the name?
We’re old friends and found ourselves on maternity leave at the same time. We were doing the usual new parent ‘stuff’ together – music classes, baby sensory… the dreaded soft play! Until we realised that while our children were having fun, we really weren’t. It felt like such a waste of our precious time together.
So we decided to do things differently. Less compromise and sacrifice, more time spent doing things we’d all enjoy. We spent ages researching exhibitions, restaurants, live music, books, you name it, that had something for both adults and kids. Which is where the idea for The Leveller came from. We wanted to share our experiences and challenge the crazy, child-centric status quo. Help families see that there’s another way: one where everyone’s needs are met, that puts children and adults on the same level. So The Leveller felt like an obvious name for it!
‘When everyone’s happy, everyone’s happier’ is such a good tagline; tell us a bit more about that concept.
When we do things that everyone enjoys, we all get so much more out of our time together. The kids delight in seeing their parents engaged and present and we’re more likely to connect as a result.
What sorts of activity do you promote?
A huge breadth of things from exhibitions, outdoor activities and restaurants, to books, recipes, games and music. You name it! The key factor in deciding whether something is a leveller is that there must be something in it for both adults and kids. It doesn’t need to be expensive or a grand gesture – great memories can be made in the smallest moments, like a quick kitchen disco or some cloud spotting!
I guess, like all parents, we just do our best to get everything done. We’re deeply passionate about opening people’s eyes to how much better family life can be with more balance. The changes we’ve seen in the quality of our family time since becoming more leveller-minded are definitely worth the hard work!
What do you see as the biggest challenge for young families at the moment?
The perception that our children should be the centre of the universe. Experts believe that this obsessive focus is resulting in anxious and exhausted parents, and a generation of entitled children who lack the resilience to thrive. It doesn’t make sense for anyone.
Where do you see this going in future – what would you like to see happen for The Leveller?
We want to see more and more families reaping the benefits of better balance.
After the success of our Family Food Experience with celebrity chef José Pizarro restaurants, we’ll continue to create great Leveller events in areas where families are currently missing out, plus we have our own products in development too. If we can get a groundswell of parents experiencing and championing family life “on the level” we genuinely believe everyone will be happier!
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Image: Ben Hutton