Award-winning nursery expansion is child's play.
Byline: BUSINESS coreena ford email@example.com
THE woman behind a successful County Durham nursery has snapped up two other businesses to grow her business.
Laura Leigh Davies, 28, set up Child's Play Private Nursery in Ferryhill five years ago with just one other member of staff and four children.
Today, the firm has grown to employ 21 staff and cater for children from more than 100 families - and has twice been named in the Top 10 most recommended nurseries in the North East.
Mrs Davies has also won accolades for her work, scooping the Young Female Entrepreneur of the Year in the 2016 Win Awards, which recognise women in business in the North East.
Now the entrepreneur has taken over the reins of Buttercup nurseries in Seaham and Chester-le-Street. As part of an expansion, Buttercup has rebranded under the Child's Play name and 35 staff have transferred over, while 135 children currently at Buttercups will continue to attend.
Mrs Davies benefited from advice from the Durham Business Opportunities Programme (DBOP) - funded by the European Regional Development Fund - which links business with opportunities that can help them grow, such as business support, new contracts, suppliers and investment.
She said: "We're thrilled to be acquiring Buttercup to grow the Child's Play brand in the North East.
"Our ethos is to invest in staff and resources, and to innovate. We recently won the Best Use of Innovation Award at the North East Women Entrepreneur of the Year Awards for our online portal which allows parents to log in and access information about their child's progress.
"Our growth and success has also been recognised by HRH Prince Charles at the Celebrate Success Awards, which resulted in an invite to a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace. We have also been recognised in the early years sector at the Nursery World Awards and the National Day Nurseries Association Awards.
"We'll be applying this approach to Buttercup sites to make sure the children there receive the very best learning and care experience, and parents are involved in their journey.
"At Child's Play we approach childcare with a focus on development. My ambition is to bring that model to other nurseries - eventually we'd like to have a group of five to six sites."
Michael Harriott, business engagement officer at Durham Business Opportunities programme, added: "Laura's business growth is an excellent example of the type of opportunity that's available in the childcare sector."
Laura Leigh Davies, the director of Child's Play Private Nursery.