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Unique nursery makes giant strides forward with the support of Let’s Do Mentoring

Unique nursery makes giant strides forward with the support of Let’s Do Mentoring

Small Steps Day Nursery has taken huge leaps forward on the road to success with the support of Let’s Do Mentoring.

A unique, flexible offering for busy parents, combined with new business practices, has resulted in major growth for the nursery in Pump Street, Stoke.

Owner Andrea Simcock-Bull has worked hard to achieve growth after moving Small Steps from more modest premises in Penkhull at the end of 2012.

As a result, Small Steps has grown from an initial seven staff to employ 27, while now catering for around 120 children compared to 29 in 2012.

Now Andrea is considering locating further premises in which to launch a second Small Steps nursery.

The success of Small Steps has come from a realisation that many nurseries were not providing the flexible service that working parents need.

Small Steps opens for children at 6.30am in the morning and doesn’t close until 7pm. While parents can book in flexibly for as few hours as they need child care for, giving them a rare level of choice in an industry where nursery sessions are usually offered as either morning or afternoon.

Its position close to the Stoke-on-Trent Royal University Hospital has made it a popular choice for nurses, doctors and other staff working unusual hours.

But Andrea also gives credit to Let’s Do Mentoring for the success of Small Steps.

“I have had mentoring support for around two years,” said Andrea. “The business has exploded since we have moved to bigger premises and it is quite complex to run due to our flexible hours approach and the need to match that with our staff’s working patterns.

“We were paired with Adrian Heath by the Chamber of Commerce. He has taught me and my manager, Lauren Wetwood, to be business people as well as carers.

“Our financial processes have been overhauled and we have worked on internal communications to make the staff feel part of the business. Small Steps is a positive place to work and that makes a better environment for the children in our care.”

Adrian said: “I see myself as a listening post and a critical friend of the business.

“It had grown rapidly but needed support to find the most effective way of coping with both children coming in and out throughout the day and the demands that put on staffing.

“We have worked together to streamline the billing system and to devise different sessions throughout the day to suit the nursery’s customers.

“I hope I also help to bring a bit of calm to a very busy world.”

Positive outcomes

Jobs and Growth:
20 new jobs created following move to new premises.

Business Practice:
New billing systems and staff rotas introduced to fit Small Steps’ unique, flexible child care offering.
Mentoring input into better branding and realignment of space within the nursery.