Catering for children aged between two and twelve, Discovery Vine operates after school clubs in seven schools with three of those set up to include pre-school facilities. Whilst a clear agenda for developing children through a focus on health in a safe environment where they can develop skills for the future and begin to make a positive contribution both in classrooms and across society has helped Discovery Vine establish itself, strong business acumen has fuelled consistent growth since Jayne Shepherd and Lynda Garbutt set up Discovery Vine Childcare in 2001.
At its heart has been pre-school care according to director Jayne Shepherd, “It’s really important for us to retain staff and working through the school day gives our employees much more flexibility in how they approach their working week.”
The largest site operated by Discovery Vine is at Longsands primary school and it’s here that their business acumen has resulted in a two storey modular facility that’s ideally suited for both their pre-school pupils and the before and after school clubs. “What we originally had in place was a single unit which the school had leased through Springfield and what we did was to explore the options of further leasing through the school - if we could cover the cost of the ground work. We knew the demand for places would recoup the additional funding for the new lease without having to worry about raising the capital for outright purchase. As a whole, education has been hit hard by restrictions on spending and particularly capital expenditure projects such as this and our business certainly couldn’t either, so leasing was definitely the way to go, ” adds Jayne.
Now the new building has more than paid for itself and caters for 60 children during the busiest after school clubs with younger children kept safe and busy upstairs. With the introduction of child care vouchers future growth seems likely. “I think it’s a welcome move and should help us consolidate our position, in so many of our families both parents work and this will provide a safety net that really can make a difference to their lives,” according to Jayne.
Key issues faced by Discovery Vine
Addressing the need to expand the business in the current climate of financial restraints imposed on the educational sector
- Significantly expanding operations to cater for both pre-school and after school needs
- Selecting a suitable partner to lease the double storey bespoke modular building required
- Working with a specialist to provide a turnkey installation including connecting to services and utilities whilst minimising disruption to the ongoing childcare business
What Springfield did
Discovery Vine were able to leverage Springfield’s considerable expertise in this sector in providing a modular building solution, at the right terms, that specifically met their needs – both in terms of a safe environment in terms of fixtures such as doors and windows and also managing the site during the installation of the new building. Three units form the spacious ground floor with three more for the upper floor connected by a wide staircase to easy access for both children and educational equipment.
“All the way through we’ve been really pleased with the service we’ve got from Springfield, right from the initial unit through to the new building they’ve understood what we’ve needed and the end product is manufactured to very high standards,” adds Jayne.
Summary and key benefits
Longsands primary school is an example of childcare specialists such as Discovery Vine can work with local schools to overcome major budgetary issues faced across the educational sector and provide a valuable resource in the community that supports working families. “Our business is centred on providing wrap around care for children and ensuring they get the best start possible to their schooldays, with the support of local schools and partners such as Springfield we’ve a great opportunity to make a difference in Preston,” concludes Jayne.