Transforming a former care home into a nursery has been child’s play for a business.
Family-run business North East Childcare invested more than £300,000 to turn the former 28-bed nursing home Solway House into a children’s nursery.
Thanks to help from TEDCO Business Support, it has created state-of-the-art 75-place nursery Evolution @ Solway House in the centre of Benton village.
An initial six members of staff have been taken on, with plans in place to grow it to 20 within a year.
Evolution @ Solway House will provide care from children aged from birth to five-years-old, as well as offering holiday clubs to older children and drop-in community classes.
Every room in the nursery has direct access to the 400sq m secure, outdoor area which has been decked out with a soft play surface where the children can play.
Bobby Vij, director at North East Childcare, said: “When we were sadly forced to close the doors of our nursing home back in 2012 we knew that the obvious commercial decision would have been to demolish the aged building and sell the land.
“But as a family we had fallen in love with the building and felt strongly that we could bring it back to life.
“It is quite fitting that it is once again being used to care for people but only this time those just at the start of their life.
“It has been a huge task to get this far as we really wanted to create something very special.”
“We have invested heavily in both the look and feel of the place but also in deciding to team up with Evolution Childcare who are renowned, award winning experts in preschool care.”
He added: “Bill Hartshorne from TEDCO has provided us with invaluable support. Investing so much money in to a project is always a risk and at times we did question whether it would work but Bill has kept us level headed and focused throughout.”
The family has ambitious plans for the business and are already looking at a second location.
Bill Hartshorne, business adviser at TEDCO, added: “Working with Davinder and Bobby and the rest of the family has been hugely rewarding for me.
“I have helped so many different businesses of all shapes and sizes to get off the ground but this has been a really exciting project which I’m delighted to have been involved with.
“The sheer quality of what they have created is such an achievement and they are clearly committed to both the care of their children and the success of the business which will ensure they can continue to reinvest and maintain the high standards they have set.”