A new children’s nursery is set to create up to 40 jobs in Leeds following a £2m renovation programme on a Grade II listed building.
Tiny Tree Day Nursery is based at Sycamore Lodge in Hyde Park, which dates back to the 1860s.
The building had been in a state of disrepair for four years, and there were fears it would turn into an eyesore, until the husband and wife team of Graham and Amika Abbott acquired the site last year. After securing a £1.8m funding package from HSBC to support the acquisition and redevelopment of the site, the couple have spent the last eight months renovating the building.
The couple’s nursery portfolio already includes
Newbank Nursery in Oldham and Little Angels in Huddersfield. Tiny Tree Day Nursery employs six people, and this figure will grow to around 40 when it reaches its full quota of around 163 children. The Abbotts have lived in Leeds for 12 years, but this is their first business venture in the city. The pair have previously mixed full-time careers with running the nursery business. Mrs Abbott was a HR director with Scientific Games and Mr Abbott used to work as a finance director, but they are now focused on developing their nurseries.
Mr Abbott said: “I had been looking for a site in Leeds for a long time, and had given up hope before I found Sycamore Lodge. It’s a stunning building and we believe it will offer the children a fantastic environment to learn and play. We put in place robust management structures at our nurseries, strong staff development programmes and policies that encourage healthy eating and living for the children, so we feel it will be popular with parents, particularly those that commute into Leeds city centre.”
HSBC West Yorkshire Area Commercial Director Mike Hemingway added: “When you talk to Graham and Amika, their passion for excellence comes across clearly.
“They have developed a top class facility where children will learn and develop in a safe, secure and fun environment, plus they are also helping the local economy by creating 40 new jobs and bringing a derelict building back into use.”