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Huddersfield day nursery acquired by fast-growing national childcare operator

A day nursery in the Cowlersley district of Huddersfield has been acquired by the growing national childcare group Welcome Nurseries in a deal arranged by Abacus Day Nursery Sales, a specialist division of Blacks Business Brokers.

Following the deal, Bright Start Playgroup and Nursery on Cowlersley Lane has now been renamed Welcome Nurseries @ Cowlersley Lane.

Bright Start Playgroup and Nursery was established in the Grade 2-listed Cowlersley Community Centre in Huddersfield in 2015. It is registered to provide 68 childcare places and, at its most recent inspection, was rated as Good by the regulator OFSTED.

At the time of the sale the nursery was run by its manager and seven other members of staff, who have stayed on following the change in ownership. The former owners, Alison and Daniel Whitwam, sold the business to allow them to focus on family commitments.

Welcome Nurseries was founded in 2019 by the experienced nursery owner and manager Linda Cuddy and the businessman Jonathan Jay. Headquartered in Richmond, West London, it already operates 12 other nurseries around the country, and is in the process of acquiring a 14th.

Ms Cuddy, who lives in Yorkshire, said that, as well as being drawn to the Grade 2-listed premises in which the Cowlersley Lane nursery is located, “We were attracted by its community, homely feel. We felt it would fit into our model.”

In addition to retaining the nursery’s eight existing staff, Welcome Nurseries intends to recruit more team members at Cowlersley Lane to support its growth plans. The company has recently completed an internal refurbishment of the nursery which, according to Ms Cuddy, is now “very contemporary – an ideal place for children to be well cared for in an environment in which every single child can flourish”.

Welcome Nurseries does not consider itself to be a corporate nursery provider, she said, because, “Each nursery is chosen for its uniqueness. We believe all children deserve the very best start in life and we are committed to delivering that in safe, secure environments that spark curiosity and wonder.”

As well as Abacus Day Nursery sales, Welcome Nurseries was advised on the transaction by Wimbledon-based Morrisons Solicitors.
Ms Cuddy said, “We were very happy to deal with Abacus – they are so professional and the process was extremely smooth. Morrisons are also extremely efficient and dealt with all our property and business-related queries.”

Joanne Booth, director at Abacus Day Nursery Sales, said: “We were really happy to be able to complete this transaction during the Covid-19 restrictions, enabling our client to move on and ensuring the continuation of high-quality childcare for parents and children.
Welcome Nurseries have great plans for the nursery and I wish them all the best with them.

“Despite challenging times, demand from buyers for good businesses in the childcare sector has remained strong, and we have sold several day nurseries around the country during the pandemic, with others due to complete very soon. In particular we have noticed a continuation of the trend for consolidation, with a number of regional and national groups seeing now as a good time to add to their portfolios.”


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