Buckinghamshire day nursery bought by group providing nature-focused childcare

A nursery group operating in the South East of England has added a fourth setting to its portfolio in a deal arranged by the childcare business transfer specialist Abacus Day Nursery Sales.

Little Birches Nursery & Preschool has acquired the lease on Railway Nursery School in Lavendon, Olney, Buckinghamshire. The deal has enabled the business’s former owner, Libby Wilson, to retire.

Railway Nursery School was established more than 30 years ago, and was taken over by Ms Wilson in 2009. It has now been rebranded as Little Birches Nursery & Preschool, Olney, joining a group with settings in Sonning Common near Reading, West Wickham and Tunbridge Wells in Kent.

The Olney nursery, which is located in a former Victorian schoolhouse, is registered to provide 42 childcare places. It employs 16 staff, all of whom have stayed on following the change of ownership.

The Little Birches group was founded in 2019 by the serial entrepreneur Glen Jones. In total it now offers care to 230 children across its four nurseries.

According to Mr Jones he established the business to focus on two central themes: to provide a superior childcare experience and to immerse children in nature-based learning.

Jones said: ‘We really loved the community feel and we felt that the high level of childcare we provide would be valuable for the community.’

Although Little Birches Nursery & Preschool, Olney has similarities to the group’s other nurseries in terms of level of care and nature-based approach, Mr Jones said each setting was encouraged to maintain its own identity and to reflect its team’s personality.

‘The Little Birches group funded the acquisition using cashflow from its existing operations. Mr Jones said the business planned to invest heavily in the Olney site to create one of the standout nurseries in the county.

‘The group is also on the lookout for other potential acquisitions. Mr Jones explained, ”We plan to continue to expand and go into other communities where we feel we can make a positive and ethical contribution.’

Chelsea Melnyk, client manager at Abacus Day Nursery Sales, a specialist division of Blacks Business Brokers, said:

‘We have been seeing growing demand for nurseries with character and good outside space from operators who are willing to make a significant investment in the settings they acquire. This was another example of this trend.

‘A new generation of forward-looking childcare groups are establishing themselves and, in the process, providing exits for owners who are now ready to move on. It was great, once again, to play our part in enabling this to happen, and I wish Glen and his team all the best for the future.’

Date published: December 15, 2021