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Employee-owned nursery chain wins European award for commitment to staff

Article By: Sue Learner

Childbase Partnerships, a nursery chain in the south of England, has won an award at the European Business Awards for the way it looks after its employees.

Meadow View Day Nursery (Newport Pagnell)

The provider which runs 41 nurseries, was given The Workplace and People Development Award, and will now go on to represent the UK in the finals in Poland.

Adrian Tripp, chief executive of the European Business Awards called it an “amazing achievement” and said: “Childbase Partnership is clearly a stand out leader in their field. To be a National Winner means you represent our core values of success, ethics and innovation and are one of the best in Europe.”

The award comes less than a year after the company moved to full employee ownership and just weeks after staff received a total £850,000 ‘Sharing our Success’ payment.

Childbase Partnership has also been on the Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For lists for over a decade.

Angela Brown, chairperson of the Childbase Partnership Council, which is a 42 elected employee representative group, said: “Childbase Partnership is a company that is proud to be different. We were competing against large corporate organisations but our commitment to workplace and people development really shone through. We couldn’t be more proud of this achievement.”

Childbase Partnership, which employs over 1,700 people caring for nearly 6,000 children aged between six weeks to five years, was chosen by a panel of independent judges including senior business leaders, politicians and academics as the best in the UK for engaging and motivating all its employees and investing in recruitment, personal and skills development.

Virginia Mead-Herbert, Childbase Partnership managing director, said: “We are delighted to win this award because people are the cornerstone of our operation. The Partnership is founded on the principle that employee well-being, engagement and retention is critical to consistently high quality provision.”

The company was founded in 1989 as a family business by Mike Thompson and his father, former National Freight Corporation chairman, Sir Peter Thompson. In 2001, Mike Thompson, chief executive, took the bold decision to turn the nursery chain Childbase Partnership into an employee-owned company. Mr Thompson began on the path to employee-ownership by setting up ‘Save and Buy’ share schemes, with ‘Buy one get one free’ incentives.

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