Social Enterprise in childcare: London Early Years Foundation

This feature by Social Enterprise is one of the most exciting I’ve ever read. Why?

In the future I’d love to run a nursery, giving places to families who can’t afford it. It’s been a dream of mine the last 5 years since doing work experience in a nursery. It’s great to read such an in-depth interview with June O’Sullivan, who’s the CEO of the leading childcare social enterprise, London Early Years Foundation (LEYF). She took it through a transformational process and re-brand in 2005 but was sensitive to the heritage of the company in doing so.

Its annual turnover has increased from £2m to £8.5m but she’s aiming on a turnover of £50m, by running 50 nurseries in up to 15 London boroughs (currently it’s in 5 boroughs). And she believes in a very collaborative approach.

She’s transformed it from a charity reliant on funds for 60% of its income, to being a fully self-sufficient social enterprise model and a very successful one at that.

The current economic and social climate is a good one for social enterprise, as more people are interested in doing good and moving away from pure capitalism. It’s great that the appetite is there but June doesn’t feel we’re fully capitalizing off it in childcare, as the public consciousness isn’t there quite yet. Her ambition (for social enterprise in childcare) is benchmarked against the Fair trade market, where everyone understands that you’re paying for the best because it’s doing good somewhere else.

I’ll be keeping an eye out for how LEYF do and hopefully I may even get to work with them.

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