The founder of Little Unicorn Day Nurseries Group in Canary Wharf has sold the business to Bright Horizons Family Solutions.

Kate Williamson founded the childcare company in 1998 but has decided to hand over the reins to the national provider.

Over the 18 years, Kate has built up four nursery settings in Canary Wharf - Bank Street, Canada Square, Westferry Circus and Columbus Courtyard. It has capacity to provide childcare to 350 children.

Kate said: “While I am very sorry to be leaving the nurseries after 18 years, it is time to hand over to a very experienced and like minded company who will take the nurseries, practitioners, children and families into the future. I wish everyone well.”

She also thanked Nick Brown, associate director at business property advisor Christie and Co , who handled the sale.

Nick said: “At the time Kate started her business, Canary Wharf was a very different place to the thriving area which it is today, and the development of a fledgling childcare business at that time was perceived to be a potential risk, particularly as Kate was of a relatively young age.

“However, the sheer determination of her and her family to succeed enabled them to not only open their first setting, but grow and evolve the business to where it is today, a thriving group of four premium childcare settings which also offer emergency childcare facilities and back up care.”

“One particular feature of this nursery group which is unusual in the sector, is that while in the current climate, the promise of 30 hours free childcare is a very hot topic, not one of the nurseries in the group offer any funded or discounted places whatsoever –revenues are derived solely thorough privately paid for sessions.

“In an era of insecurity following the recent Brexit vote, it’s heartening to see that a major international childcare operator like Bright Horizons Family Solutions saw this privately-run group in the heart of London’s financial quarter as a desirable prime asset to acquire.”

James Tugendhat, managing director, international at Bright Horizons, said: “We have long admired Little Unicorn and are excited to welcome the children and families they serve as well as their nursery teams and clients into the Bright Horizons family.

"Its role as a long-standing high-quality nursery provider in Canary Wharf makes Little Unicorn the perfect addition to the Bright Horizons group, as both organisations share a strong commitment to high-quality early years education and childcare.

"Bright Horizons is now the only provider who can deliver back-up emergency childcare on Canary Wharf and, by expanding the number of nurseries we own in the area, we are able to strengthen our offering to our many Wharf-based clients and continue to consolidate our position as the leading provider of high-quality employer sponsored back-up adult and childcare in the City and across the UK.”

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