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The Elmscot group of nurseries and out-of-school clubs has acquired its sixth nursery, with backing from Santander to grow the group.

The acquisition is also the 14th setting for the group, which also runs eight out-of-school clubs under the Kids Collective brand, also based in Cheshire.

Little Friends Day Nursery in Chester is in an old Edwardian listed building near the station and the city centre. The group is about to start refurbishing the nursery and has plans to transform the large outdoor area in keeping with its other nurseries.

The new nursery will be re-branded as Elmscot Day Nursery and Nursery School (Chester).

The Elmscot Group was set up in 2001 by Stephanie Molnar and Dee McKenzie, a biologist and an accountant, who were struggling to find a nursery for their own children. The founders continue to run the group, which now has more than 225 employees, and provides early years education and childcare for more than 1,700 children through the nurseries and out-of-school provision.

Nine of the group’s settings have been graded ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted , with the others outstanding in areas, with overall ‘good’ grades.

Elmscot Day Nursery in Timperley was the 2017 Nursery World Award winner for inclusive practice.

The new nursery is registered for 95 childcare places. All of the 25 current employees will transfer over to the group.


Elmscot founders and directors Stephanie Molnar and Dee McKenzie, with Danielle Simpson, from Santander

Speaking about the latest acquisition, director Ms Molnar told Nursery World, ‘We’ll have state-of-the-art systems, but we want to update it in keeping with the original building with a large outdoor area. We’ll be trying to bring a more country feel to the city centre, with a mini-farm, chickens, and growing veg, fitting with our whole food ethos.’

Related: Buying and Running A UK Children’s Franchises – What Does It Take?

All of the group’s nurseries are accredited through the Soil Association’s Food for Life scheme for the nutritional quality of their menus, quality and sourcing of ingredients and for educating children about food.

The deal is the second nursery acquisition for the group in less than a year, following the acquisition of Nyehome Day Nursery School in Nantwich, which provides 120 childcare places.

The current financing arrangement with Santander Business Banking will allow the group to acquire two more nurseries.

‘We are delighted to be able to welcome Chester families to the Elmscot Group and look forward to delivering our service in such a beautiful Grade II listed building in the City centre,’ Ms Molnar said. ‘We have an ethos of exceptional education provision across the the Elmscot Group and a commitment to supporting families with outstanding childcare. We are thankful to Santander for the support at this key time in the growth of the business.’

Danielle Simpson, relationship director, Santander Business Banking, said, ‘We are absolutely delighted to be able to support this great business to meet its growth aspirations. We have been very impressed by the team at the Elmscot Group and their extensive experience in the nursery sector, and are focused on supporting them as they invest for growth and additional success.’

Out-of-school franchise

In a new development, Elmscot has recently appointed a franchise development manager to oversee the franchising of the Kids Collective out-of-school clubs throughout the country.

‘Everything is in place – we’ve joined the British Franchise Association – we’ve just started it and we’re actively pursuing in now. We’re quite excited about it.’

Ms Molnar said she believed this was ‘a first’ for out-of-school clubs to expand nationally through this model.

Source: Nursery World

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