15 Jun 2018
A Glasgow ethical investment enterprise has acquired an award-winning Larkhall nursery with the support of a £300,000 funding package from Bank of Scotland.
Kids Connecting, founded in 2017, has purchased Big Bird Nursery and its premises on Machan Road, Larkhall. It is the first business acquisition in its ethical investment portfolio.
Kids Connecting, set up by former social worker Kathy Black and her husband David, is now exploring the possibility of introducing ‘flexi-schooling’ to the nursery.
Flexi-schooling – which is popular in Scandinavia, but is yet to be implemented in Scotland – offers children from five years old and upwards the chance to split their time between nursery and primary school during a transition period ahead of entering full-time education.
Kids Connecting hopes to begin trialing the concept at Big Bird Nursery from August 2018.
Big Bird Nursery currently provides day care services for children from birth to school age, and boasts 70 full time spaces with an extra 50 spaces in its breakfast and after-school clubs.
The nursery also provides specialist support for children with additional needs, as well as a forest school that gives children the chance to learn through outdoor-based activities.
Last year the nursery’s turnover totalled £500,000. Kids Connecting is projecting annual revenue growth of 10 per cent from 2019. This will be driven by the Scottish Government’s pledge to double the entitlement of funded early learning places by 2020.
In 2015 the nursery was recognised as one of the top ten nurseries in Scotland by national review site daynurseries.co.uk, and received outstanding results in its most recent inspection.
David Black, co-founder, Kids Connecting, said: “We founded Kids Connecting to champion an ethical, socially minded way of doing business. Big Bird Nursery is the first of hopefully many projects that will contribute to our goal of building integrated connected communities that build resilience and energy for both young and old.
“With this goal in mind, we’ll be looking to engage the early years with learning programmes focused on ‘in the moment’ planning and creative play. We’ll also be looking to engage the older generation from the local area in the day-to-day life of the nursery, as well as introducing a flexi-schooling programme.
“We’re keen to change the narrative around early learning education in Scotland. This means making sure that we’re providing a science-based approach instead of one that is purely economically led and providing outstanding care from the start that caters for the unique needs of each of our children. The groundwork for good school performance begins early, long before children enter formal education.”
Brian Bovell, business development manager, Bank of Scotland, said: “Kids Connecting is a great example of a local business that puts its community at the heart of everything it does.
“We’ve had a relationship with David and Kathy for a number of years, and we’re proud to be helping them take this key first step for their social investment enterprise. Big Bird Nursery has a stellar reputation in the area for its quality of care and David and Kathy’s wealth of experience in business and social care is only set to help the nursery flourish.
“Supporting the growth ambitions of companies like Kids Connecting, as well as offering relationship-led banking is a central part of our commitment to helping Britain prosper. Since the start of 2011 alone, we have grown our net lending to SMEs by 31% whilst the market has contracted by 11%.”