Oswestry-based swim teacher Kim up for national awards

November 2, 2020

AN OSWESTRY-BASED swim teacher is celebrated after being named as one of the best franchisees by her parent company.

Kim Pinnington, who has a team of coaches delivering lessons at Oswestry School, among other areas, was named the Puddle Ducks Franchisee of the Year 2020, and has also been listed as a finalist in two prestigious national awards: the NatWest EWIF (Encouraging Women into Franchising) Awards 2020 and a BFA (British Franchise Association) Awards 2020.

She is the owner of Puddle Ducks North West Midlands, south Cheshire and Wrexham, part of a nationwide swim school which provides innovative swimming classes for babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers aged newborn to four, as well as Swim Academy from four to 10 years.

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

Managing director of Puddle Ducks, Jo Stone, said: “Kim is an inspirational woman and deserving finalist for these awards.

“I am very proud of her achievements and outstanding contribution to the Puddle Ducks franchising network.

“I wish Kim the very best for the awards.”

In February 2020, Kim was named as the Puddle Ducks Franchisee of the Year for 2020, recognising her monumental efforts in growing the business alongside providing the high-quality swimming lessons associated with the Puddle Ducks name. She is the newest Puddle Ducks franchisee to ever win this award!

Related: Children Franchises – Search Franchise Reviews Directory

She has been described by colleagues as ‘working tirelessly’ to ensure not only the success of her business but also for securing the best opportunities and support for her team of teachers, office workers and poolside assistants.

The last year in particular has been difficult, not only for Kim but for the entire team. A key teaching pool that also housed one of Kim’s offices burnt down last July, but Kim tackled this setback calmly. She managed to turn this negative experience into a huge positive with new pools, new team members and new class recruits.

By Barrie White

Source: Border Counties Advertizer

Cheshire businesswoman up for major franchising award

July 30, 2020

Feeling stifled and unfulfilled as an accountant and knowing she always wanted to run her own business, Kim Pinnington, now 37, took on a Puddle Ducks franchise three years ago, and since then has thrived.

Because of this, she has been shortlisted in the Transformation category at the bfa HSBC British Franchise Awards, taking place at the Vox, Birmingham, on November 30.

She runs a Puddle Ducks (a franchise that teaches babies and toddlers to swim), that covers Cheshire, the North West Midlands, and Wrexham, employing 23 people. Despite the wide geographical split, she has managed to make the territory much more profitable through hard work and canny business decisions, even though it was operating as a successful business before she purchased it.

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

“I am thrilled to be shortlisted for the Franchisee Business Transformation award and to be recognised for what I have achieved over the last few years as a franchisee.

“Franchising has given me the confidence to run my own business in the knowledge that I have full support from my network and helped me to strive towards my professional goal of building a successful sustainable business and my personal goal of balancing work life around my family” says Kim Pinnington, Franchisee.

Related: Children Franchises – Search Franchise Reviews Directory

Pip Wilkins QFP, CEO of the bfa, said: “The territory Kim purchased is spread wide and far, and although the foundations and base of a great business were acquired when she purchased it, the previous franchisee had only made a modest return. However, Kim really utilised the power of the network for advice and formulated an airtight business plan.”

Andrew Brattesani, Head of Franchising at HSBC, added: “Kim more than tripled net profit in her first year of operating through steady scaling and sticking to a robust plan and cutting classes where necessary. Despite having just over 700 customers in 2016/17 and just under 900 in 2019/20, the net profit margin has risen from 10% to 22%.”

Kim will go head-to-head against three other franchisees in November.

By Emma Lumley

Source: BDaily

Cranage swimming school makes waves with new board

January 30, 2020

BABY and child swimming school Puddle Ducks is making waves by creating a new board of chief executives to drive the company forward.

Cranage-based Puddle Ducks, which has 32 franchise owners nationwide, has appointed co-founder Jo Stone as managing director.

Fellow co-founder Tracy Townend will also join the newly-formed board, but will be stepping down from day-to-day activity.

Ali Beckman, technical director and head teacher, who has been with Puddle Ducks for more than 15 years, is delighted to take up her position on the board.

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

Also joining is chartered accountant, Gillian Bardin, formerly managing director of Taylor Patterson, a financial services group based in Lancashire.

The board will be supported by a steering group of a further five Puddle Ducks executives with diverse skills and business backgrounds.

Puddle Ducks managing director Jo Stone said: “When we launched Puddle Ducks we knew we were creating a business that would fill a gap in the baby and child swimming sector.

“Making the decision to franchise the business was our next bold move and one that has been a great success.

Related: Children Franchises – Search Franchise Reviews Directory

“Franchising has allowed us to expand the business across the UK through a dedicated network of ambassadors, who all have a vested interest in the brand.

“We are now extremely excited about this next phase of Puddle Ducks. Establishing our new board of directors and supporting steering group allows us to further develop our trusted brand as our network continues to grow. These are exciting times ahead.”

Puddle Ducks was founded in 2002, and the company teaches 21,000 children to swim every week across the UK.

The company recently received approval for its planning application to develop a flagship swimming centre at Barons in Northwich, which is set to open this year.

By Ian Ross

Source: Knutsford Guardian

Cheshire children’s unconventional fundraiser earns huge sum for local charity

November 22, 2019

A swimming team from Cheshire, Puddle Ducks, has raised a huge amount of money for a children’s charity.

Puddle Ducks Mid Cheshire has raised over £1,000 for charity Children’s Adventure Farm Trust (CAFT) after completing its annual charity swim.

To make the feat even more impressive, the swimmers do it all in their pyjamas.

It is part of the PJ week, which raises awareness and money for different charities and CAFT benefitted massively from the effort.

Helping the terminally ill, disabled and disadvantaged children, the charity is based in a 17th century farmhouse and gives them a chance to play, laugh and be children.

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

Rachel Bateson, franchise manager of Puddle Ducks Mid Cheshire, commented: “PJ Week is great fun and we are so glad that we have been able to support CAFT.

“It is a great charity which was chosen by our little swimmers.

“Swimming in pyjamas shows our swimmers that they will feel heavier, but that they are still be able to do the important lifesaving manoeuvres like kicking to the surface and reaching for safety.”

Related: Children Franchises – Search Franchise Reviews Directory

Puddle Ducks swim at at Delamere Forest School, DW Fitness Macclesfield, DW Fitness Warrington, Holiday Inn Runcorn, Sandbach Boys School, Seashell Trust Hydro Pool, Seashell Trust Main Pool and Weaverham Pool.

For more information about Puddle Ducks Mid Cheshire visit here .

By Liam Beard – Live News Reporter

Source: Cheshire Live

Major awards splash for Puddle Ducks

May 14, 2019

Puddle Ducks UK. COMPANY directors Jo Stone and Tracy Townend made a major splash at awards celebrating the best and brightest women in franchising.

Jo and Tracy are directors of Cranage-based Puddle Ducks, and won national titles at the 2019 NatWest Encouraging Women into Franchising (EWIF) Awards.

The women have been co-owners of the baby and children swim school franchise since 2002.

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

At the award ceremony in London, they were announced as winners of the Woman Franchisor of the Year, before going on to scoop the ‘winner’s winner’ award of Overall Woman in Franchising (or, in their case, women) in Franchising.

The women met when they were pregnant with their first children, who were subsequently born on the same day and recently turned 18.

Since then, Jo and Tracy’s supportive friendship has developed alongside their business.

Related: Children Franchises – Search Franchise Reviews Directory

Tracy said: “I have recently had a long period of illness, and Jo has been a tower of strength, not only for me, but also for the Puddle Ducks head office team and our lovely franchisees who kept the business thriving.

“The judges were keen to give special mention to Jo for all she has done, not only in supporting me and the Puddle Ducks business, but for also being a wonderful advocate for the franchise industry.”

Jo said: “It was a real surprise to receive the overall Woman in Franchising award.

“From the start, we have had big dreams, and we prioritise and encourage supportive relationships throughout the company.

“It feels great to be recognised by the EWIF and it is wonderful that Tracy and I can share the joy in winning the awards.”

By Ian Ross

Source: Knutsford Guardian

Puddle Ducks franchise launches first ever TV ad campaign

December 19, 2018

Franchise Company, Puddle Ducks, which provides swimming lessons for babies and children aged 0 – 10yrs, has just launched its first television advertising campaign – the first ever in the learn-to-swim sector.

The commercials, ‘Bubbles’ and ‘Hold On’ made by Manchester-based Standby Productions feature a supportive and very proud duck who encourages his little swimmer to do their very best. The commercial brings out the fun and friendly ethos of the company, including puns and jokes which are sure to make you smile.

The campaign is currently being broadcast on ITV and Sky and runs until 15 January, followed by another six week campaign in mid-March next year. A number of shorter adverts are appearing on social media. The TV impressions alone are approx. 1million; combined with the social reach, they hope to make a real positive growth impact for the network of franchisees and bring their mission of teaching little ones to swim to even more children across the UK.

Related: Puddle Ducks bids for awards success

Puddle Ducks, headquartered in Holmes Chapel, was founded by co-owners Jo Stone and Tracy Townend in 2002 and began franchising in 2007; they now have 35 territories across the UK and teach over 21,000 children to swim every week.

Puddle Ducks’ Strategic Brand and Marketing Manager, Ruth Nelson, commented on the adverts: “We’re delighted with the final result. They were great fun to film and the babies were really entertaining. They say never work with children or animals but we found working with ducks and babies was no problem!”

Simon Owen, Managing Director/Owner at Standby Productions agreed: “It was such a fun creative concept to develop and the shoot was no different, we’re super proud of the resulting adverts. Our client wanted to bring the power of TV advertising to the brand and reach out to a wider audience.”

Source: BDaily

Puddle Ducks bids for awards success

May 14, 2018

PUDDLE Ducks founders Jo Stone and Tracy Townend are hoping to make a splash at award finals.

The Holmes Chapel-based company is a finalist in two categories in the NatWest Encouraging Women into Franchising (EWIF) Awards.

Jo Stone and Tracy Townend, co-founders of Puddle Ducks, are finalists in the Woman Franchisor of the Year category – the fifth time in six years that they have been finalists for this award – while Ali Beckman, Technical Director and Head Teacher for Puddle Ducks, is a finalist in the Woman Franchise Employee category.

Jo Stone said: “We are delighted to have been recognised as finalists in the EWIF Award.

Related: Puddle Ducks franchise launches first ever TV ad campaign

“We all work as a team, sharing the same ethos, and believe passionately in teaching babies and children to learn how to swim.

“We want every child to love swimming, respect the water and swim beautifully. That’s why our standards are the highest and our approach is unique.

“Puddle Ducks provides innovative swimming classes for babies, toddlers and children. Teachers focus on creating a nurturing environment, which supports independent swimming for children of all abilities.

“Puddle Duck’s accolade is in recognition of their impressive business skills, demonstrating positive growth and commitment.

“We are looking forward to the award ceremony on May 15, and would like to congratulate Ravneet Bermi, owner of Puddle Ducks West Hertfordshire and Luton, who has also been recognised as a finalist in the EWIF Award within the Woman Franchisee of the Year category.

Tracy and Jo first met at antenatal classes and soon realised they shared a love of swimming and a common desire to launch a business.

Puddle Ducks was founded in 2002 and they now have 35 franchisees across the UK teaching over 20,000 children to swim every week.

The EWIF is a not-for-profit organisation run by volunteers, with the aim of changing the face of the franchise sector by offering women a larger presence within the industry. This is achieved through support, advice and celebration.

This year is the EWIF Awards’ eighth year of celebrating the achievements of women in the franchise industry.

Source: Knutsford Guardian

Luton franchisee in running for national award

May 7, 2018

Ravneet Bermi, owner of Puddle Ducks West Hertfordshire and Luton is a finalist in the NatWest’s Encouraging Women into Franchising (EWIF) Award.

Puddle Ducks was set up by Ravneet four years ago and provides swimming lessons for babies and young children at seven different venues across West Hertfordshire and Luton, teaching 94 swimming sessions a week to 600 swimmers.

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

Ravneet, who earlier this year was named Puddle Ducks’ National Franchisee of the Year, said: “I am thrilled to have been recognised as a finalist in the EWIF awards within the Woman Franchisee of the Year category. “Over the last four years my team and I have worked hard help provide vital swimming lessons for children across the local area.

I would like to thank my amazing team for their hard work and dedication, as I know neither of the awards would have been possible without them.”

The award ceremony, which is now in its eighth year, will be held at Bishopsgate in London on Tuesday, May 15.

Source: Luton Today