Nursery groups on expansion trail

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Children 1st Day Nurseries has acquired three settings in Leicestershire, while Portico nursery group has added another setting.

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Children 1st has acquired The Gables nursery in Syston, Leicestershire

Children 1st Nurseries, which operates settings through the Midlands and South Yorkshire, has purchased a chain of three settings in Leicestershire - Moors Farm Nursery in Hathern, The Gables Nursery in Syston, and The Woodlands Nursery in Birstall.

The acquisition brings the total number of nurseries operated by Children 1st to 23 across the Midlands and South Yorkshire, offering 2,208 places. The majority of the group’s nurseries are rated outstanding by Ofsted.

The purchase of the nurseries was supported by The Royal Bank of Scotland.

Children 1st said it plans to ‘significantly invest in the new nurseries, enhancing their learning environments, outside areas and facilities’.

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Children 1st has bought The Woodlands nursery in Birstall

Founder and chief executive of Children 1st Margaret Mason, who was awarded an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours last month, said, ‘We already have two nurseries in Leicester and therefore this purchase presented a perfect opportunity for us to grow our business in the county. It is a pleasure to welcome children, parents, carers and staff to Children 1st. I am aware of the wonderful work already ongoing at the nurseries and everyone at Children 1st is looking forward to enhancing this provision still further.’

Nursery group Portico, which runs nurseries in Lancashire and Merseyside, is also expanding with the lease of a two-story office that will be converted into a nursery.

Based in St Helens, Merseyside, the nursery will provide 80 childcare places and open in September.

This is Portico nursery group's eighth nursery. It also operates three after-school clubs. In March, one of the settings, Portico Moss Bank in St Helens (pictured below), was awarded an outstanding rating from Ofsted. Another setting in Aughton was also rated outstanding in May.

With the acquistion, the nursery group, owned by brother and sister Nicole Politis and and Craig Jackson, now offers a total of 397 childcare places.

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Ms Politis said, 'It’s been an excellent year for the group and we look forward to providing outstanding, flexible and affordable childcare for parents and children in St Helens.

She added, 'The new setting will be innovative with fresh ideas. Our outdoor area is being designed by Cool Canvas, which designs and installs bespoke play areas.'

Mr Jackson said, 'With an ambitious vision to provide outstanding care and grow our business, it’s crucial to us to work with quality partners who have a genuine and deep sector expertise. That’s why we were so pleased to have HRC Law on board. The firm has proven its credentials in the nursery sector as advisers to some of the most admired organisations in the industry.'

Helen Marsh, commercial property solicitor and partner at HRC Law, who brokered the deal, said, 'We know clients are looking for a hassle-free transaction and for us to lead with solutions should any obstacles arise. We’ve been so impressed by the vision of Nicole and Craig and the team at Portico and look forward to watching them continue to build on their success.'

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