A new Leeds children’s nursery is to create up to 40 new jobs following a £2 million renovation programme of an historic Grade II listed building, supported by HSBC’s West Yorkshire Commercial Centre.
Tiny Tree Day Nursery opened its doors at the beginning of August, offering 163 places for children aged up to five.
The nursery is based at Sycamore Lodge in Hyde Park, which dates back to the 1860s but had been in a state of disrepair for four years until husband and wife team Graham and Amika Abbott acquired the site last year.
After securing a £1.8 million funding package from HSBC to support the acquisition and redevelopment of the site, in a deal managed by senior commercial manager Adam Kelly, the couple have spent the last eight months completely renovating the building.
The nursery is the third in the couple’s portfolio, with Newbank Nursery in Oldham and Little Angels in Huddersfield both ranked as Outstanding in all areas by education inspectors Ofsted.
Tiny Tree Day Nursery currently employs six people but that will grow to around 40 as it reaches its full quota of children.
The Abbotts have both lived in Leeds for the past 12 years but this is their first venture in the city.
The pair have previously mixed full-time careers with the nursery business – Amika was a HR director with Scientific Games and Graham has worked for Asda and was most recently a finance director with Ellbee Ltd – but they are now solely focused on developing their nurseries.
The Leeds nursery will be managed by Jay Laycock, who has ten years’ experience in nursery management, and each member of staff will undergo a stringent training and development programme to ensure that the children will receive the best possible care.
Nursery owner Graham Abbott said:
“HSBC has been a committed supporter of the project and Adam and his team recognised our ambition and goal for the nursery.
“I had been looking for a site in Leeds for a long time and had given up hope before I found Sycamore Lodge.
“It’s a stunning building and we believe it will offer the children a fantastic environment to learn and play.
“We have achieved outstanding grades from Ofsted at our other two nurseries and that is certainly the target with Tiny Tree.
“We put in place robust management structures at our nurseries, strong staff development programmes and policies that encourage healthy eating and living for the children, so we feel it will be popular with parents, particularly those that commute into Leeds city centre.”
HSBC West Yorkshire area commercial director Mike Hemingway said:
“When you talk to Graham and Amika, their passion for excellence comes across clearly.
“They have developed a top class facility where children will learn and develop in a safe, secure and fun environment, plus they are also helping the local economy by creating forty new jobs and bringing a derelict building back into use.”