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Childbase takeover by employees

A standing ovation greeted Childbase Partnership Chairman Mike Thompson as he formally handed over the award-winning childcare company he founded in Newport Pagnell 28 years ago to its 1,600 employees.

The landmark conference in Milton Keynes Arena for employees in day nurseries throughout the South of England follows an historic vote to move from individual share ownership to a long term Trust which benefits everybody, equally, for generations to come.

The majority of Childbase Nurseries are Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ – it ranks third in the largest 20 English groups in England for quality – and the company is the UK’s 10th largest employee-owned organization.

“I have realized my dreams, now it is time for you to realize yours. The next chapter in our proud history starts today,” said Mr. Thompson.

He praised external investors who had funded early expansion and all the employees who had saved to buy shares through a company scheme which offered ‘buy one get two free’ incentives.

“We must never forget all our colleagues who risked their own money and were prepared to wait for the rewards. They believed in their colleagues and what could be achieved; it is that kind of commitment and belief that will take us forward. Where we go now is in your hands,” said Mr. Thompson.

All partners will receive an equal tax-free Partnership Dividend payment in November as part of the ‘Sharing our Success’ initiative at the company.

Fred Bowden, Chairman of the newly formed Trust Board - which has independent and employee-elected directors - presented Mr. Thompson with an engraved gift recognizing “his generosity and the profound impact of his vision”.

“Employee ownership sets the tone for how we want to do business; how we support each other and the contributions we make to the communities we serve. As Childbase partners have clearly demonstrated over many years, it is simply the right way to do business,” he said.

The conference was themed around the children’s book, Elmer, about an elephant which also “dared to be different” and is celebrating its 28th birthday this year.

Creative talent was showcased with a live performance of the book and a parade of decorated craft elephants, produced by teams in every day nursery and Head Office.