North-west nursery group closes three-quarters of its settings
Wednesday, January 2, 2019
Safehands Nurseries has been forced to close three-quarters of its settings after they became unsustainable.
The nursery group, which operates across the north-west of England, made the decision not to re-open nine of its 12 nurseries after Christmas. The nurseries provide places for around 560 children and employ 100 members of staff.
The three nurseries that will remain open are in Blackpool, Preston Guild Hall and Northwich.
Safehands Nurseries’ childcare operations manager Kate Martin said, ‘Despite good Ofsted ratings at all our nurseries (some with outstanding elements) and a huge amount of cash injection into the business, occupancy levels across our sites remained at an all-time low at a little over a third full.
'Coupled with year-on-year increases in the national living wage, with little monetary increase in grant funded sessions, the nurseries failed to reach an acceptable EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) and were deemed unsustainable. An experience being witnessed across the sector for many small operators like ourselves.’
Reports suggest that some of the closed nurseries have been taken over by other childcare providers. It is also understood that the care division of the Safehands group has been sold.
The move follows the closure of a number of nurseries last year due to financial instability.