Chain celebrates tenth anniversary with expansion plans

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Tiny Teddies Day Nurseries in Coventry has marked its tenth anniversary with the announcement of plans to acquire a fourth setting.

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Tiny Teddies

The chain’s 40-place out-of-school club will also be expanded, with extra places offered to children from a second nearby school in the New Year.

Co-owner Paul Ingram, who set up the Coventry chain with his wife, Michelle, said that he felt the tenth birthday was an appropriate moment to develop the business.

‘We’re currently in contract negotiations regarding the new site, so I can’t say much about it. But it certainly feels like the right time for expansion. We have an established staff here already and we’re ready for a new challenge,’ he said.

The Ingrams decided to set up a nursery after struggling to find childcare for their son. Michelle, who had been working in sales and marketing, retrained in childcare and opened the chain’s first setting in Radford in November 2003. Her husband, a former programme manager for Rolls Royce, joined the business after three years.

With funding assistance from the Neighbourhood Nurseries Initiative as well as Yorkshire Bank, the Ingrams opened two more nurseries, an out-of-school club and a childcare voucher company.

The company now provides 151 nursery places and employs 55 members of staff, many of whom were among the group’s original employees, including a chef and two senior managers. The chain has never made redundancies.

Mr Ingram said that staff retention is an important feature of the business. ‘We do have quite a lot of the same staff as ten years ago, so really the team has grown with us. What’s been really nice is sometimes even when staff have gone away to work at different nurseries they have quite often come back to work for us again. We do do a lot of staff development and training and I think it’s also down to the fact there really is a very nice atmosphere here.’

Tiny Teddies celebrated its birthday with a visit from a mobile farm, a pyjama day (pictured) and the launch of a new fundraising drive, with plans to stage ten charity events in ten months. Twenty-three members of staff have signed up to run the Coventry half marathon in aid of local hospice Zoe’s Place.

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Mr Ingram said that giving back to the community is a priority for the chain. ‘We chose Zoe’s Place because it’s local to us, for the same reason that we’ve always tried to use local suppliers and we take on a lot of apprentices and retain them whenever we can. It’s really important when local people are using your services that you support them too.’

The chain estimates that it has raised £25,000 for good causes in ten years.