Innovative Childcare Solutions for Working Parents
Based in the heart of Totteridge and Whetstone, Mara Nursery offers flexible childcare options and a co-working space for families across the borough of Barnet.
The brainchild of Eileen Rumble, Mara Nursery is an innovative, multi-purpose space that provides childcare for children aged between six months and four years old. The nursery boasts a Co-Working Hub for parents and an events space for evening and weekend functions.
Flexible Childcare Solutions for Working Parents Post Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic had an indelible impact on the way people work and manage their children’s care and education. As people transitioned out of the lockdowns into hybrid and flexible working situations, their childcare requirements also evolved.
As the owner of the Outstanding Ofsted rated nursery, Turtles, in Covent Garden, Eileen saw the need for a flexible childcare solution geared towards parents who had stayed home with their children during the pandemic. Children struggled to adjust to pre-school, having become used to having their parents constantly around during the ‘Stay-at-Home’ mandate put in place in March 2020. Parents also struggled with managing childcare alongside new hybrid working situations.
Mara Nursery, which opened in September 2020, is the only nursery in North London to provide a Pay as You Go option and a Co-Working Hub for parents to use.
Being able to say goodbye to my little one in the mornings and show him I’m only going upstairs to work has been such a comfort to us both. It has saved me time not having to travel back home to work, and after having so much time at home with him due to the covid lockdown, being able to stay close to him and work within the same vicinity has helped bridge the initial separation worry we both had.Eileen Rumble, Mara Nursery.
Navigating The Challenges of the COVID-19 Pandemic
The pandemic brought unprecedented challenges for the staff, the business, and the families that Mara Nursery supports.
“I closed my other nurseries for two months, and it left me broken; I had to send an email to my team announcing that I could not be sure when we may or if we may return. The financial impact was huge and keeping your head above water was all we could do”.
Being in pure survival mode, it was hard for Eileen to focus on the critical aspects to recover from the pandemic and grow the Mara Nursery business.
One-to-one Support, Social Media Training and Action Plans from The London Business Hub
Mara Nursery reached out to the London Business Hub for support. Eileen says:
“I really needed to focus. Having a mentor who could guide me to focus on my own objectives is just what I needed.”
Highly experienced Business Adviser Patricia Ashford worked one-to-one with Eileen to understand her challenges and provide direction on how to streamline and grow her business.
My advisor is up to speed, knowledgeable and really understands my longer-term goals. I have received lots of hints, tips, strategies and moral support.Eileen Rumble, Mara Nursery.
Patricia supported Mara Nursery, collaborating to create action plans, strategies and facilitating access to a comprehensive workshop programme that provided tips and tools that were easy to implement into the business. These interventions helped the company make proactive changes that immediately positively impacted the business.
“Positive changes, which when they are written on paper, create a really good action plan and business strategies to look at the nursery holistically and not emotionally.”
Mara Nursery hired an administrator and co-managers for the various sites, which relieved Eileen of the pressure of the day-to-day admin and improved customer service, leaving her free to work on the business strategy and marketing.
Innovative ideas, including trade exchanges, such as discounts on childcare in exchange for a client overseeing Mara Nursery’s social media marketing, and the training arranged by The London Business Hub on Instagram and video-blogging have improved Mara Nursery’s marketing substantially.
A Bright Future
Starting with just over a dozen children in September 2020, Mara Nursery currently employs 23 staff and has 120 children under their care. The Nursery plans to open in a new Barnet location and investigate franchising the Mara Nursery business concept.
Eileen’s Advice for Other Business Owners
Eileen recommends that business owners look for support, adding that many resources are available to entrepreneurs. Connecting with like-minded people is essential, as being a business owner can be lonely. It is necessary to stay focused on your business goals – both short-term and longer-term – to grow and succeed.
Being the director and owner of a business is very challenging; you can get sucked into your business’s day-to-day operations and lose sight of your bigger goals. Having a London Business Hub mentor was such a great opportunity for me to be reignited and challenge myself to see past the day-to-day issues and reconnect with my long-term business goals. I am very grateful to Patricia for her guidance.Eileen Rumble, Mara Nursery.
London Business Hub offers free one-to-one support and advice from a team of expert advisers – to book an appointment, please click here.
The London Business Hub Business Support Programme is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund’s (ERDF’s) Hub & Spoke project.
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