A Newcastle-based business has acquired three children’s day nurseries as it expands its presence in the North East, with support from Lloyds Bank.

Nurserytime, managed by area manager Catherine Barrow, secured its first three sites, in Willington, South Shields and Hebburn. The three sites have a combined capacity of more than 250 places and the business is expecting demand to increase as lockdown restrictions are removed and the sites can operate at full capacity. All 54 staff members currently based at the sites will remain in employment and Nurserytime has created a further 11 jobs.

The acquisitions were made possible by a six-figure funding package from Lloyds Bank. The new sites are now in the process of being refurbished with new carpets, fixtures, fittings and signage, as well as new state-of-the-art outdoor areas. The renovations are set to be completed by the end of August.

A new nursery management software system will also be implemented, including an app that enables parents to be updated with the progress of their child’s development directly.

Catherine Barrow, area manager at Nurserytime, said: “We’ve been exploring options to expand our business for some time and decided there was no time like the present to press ahead with our plans.

“The support from Lloyds Bank was invaluable, making the takeover completely smooth and keeping the sites operational for children and families in Newcastle and County Durham.

“Now, we’re in the early stages of negotiations for a fourth site in the North East – we’re keen to keep momentum going and continue to actively look for further sites!”

Danielle Fraser, relationship manager at Lloyds Bank, said: “The pandemic has caused considerable disruption for nurseries across the country with lockdown restrictions and social distancing measures forcing many nurseries to temporarily close their doors.

“Despite this, recent research from Christie & Co* found that the number of nursery acquisitions in 2021 has been on the rise and the removal of lockdown restrictions and the return of office working for many families means that demand for childcare is set to increase significantly.

“Nurserytime’s recent expansion, therefore, comes at a time when the childcare sector is bouncing back and we’re looking forward to seeing the firm continue to grow this year.”

* https://www.christie.com/news-resources/publications/july-2021/childcare-education-mid-year-review/