Case Study –
Arbuthnot Latham helping specialist childcare provider expand in Lancashire
Just two years into their relationship, the teams at Bay View Childcare and Arbuthnot Latham have developed a very close working relationship. It’s personal.
Bay View, founded in 2011, is run by Paul Johnson and Martin Horner. They currently operate five care homes looking after vulnerable young people in Lancashire.
Their recent expansion has only come to fruition because of the collaborative relationship between the bank and the business owners.
Paul Johnson, Director of Care explains: “Two years ago, we had two homes and a vision. Many of those we look after have troubled backgrounds, they need specialist emotional support. With the right care, however, we can offer them the chance of a brighter, more prosperous future.
“There is lots of demand for these services, but you have to make sure you provide the right care; you can’t just build one massive facility. The care should be personal, the homes should have space and cater for people in their local area. From our perspective, the only answer was to open more homes; for us, as a business, to expand.”
Bay View hit a brick wall with their previous bank; the funding process was cumbersome, and ultimately, they were told the bank wouldn’t lend based on the tangible elements of their business case.
Paul and Martin were then introduced to Shaun Smyth, Senior Commercial Banker from Arbuthnot Latham’s Manchester Office: “It became clear to me very quickly that this was not just a sound business that was being overlooked, but also that it was run by two people with the commitment, passion and expertise to make a continued success of it.”
Shaun, along with colleagues from the Arbuthnot Latham Manchester office, took the time to get to know the business, the potential it had for growth, as well as the challenges they faced. Just two years on and Arbuthnot have been able to provide not just the finance for an additional three homes (five in total), but the working capital to ensure smooth running, and even funding for a potential sixth facility.
Paul Johnson: “When you’re working with vulnerable kids and running a business, you don’t want money to be a worry – we’ve completed this expansion during a pandemic when everyone has been stretched and working in new ways. To do that is an incredible achievement by all involved.”
Getting planning permission and building homes for vulnerable young people brings its own challenges: “It can cause a lot of consternation among residents when they hear there is a planning application for a care home for young people,” said Paul. “There are many misconceptions about care homes for young people. I always say: ‘Anybody’s child could end up in care, and how would you like your child to be looked after?’ You need care providers, businesses, committed to giving young people the best quality of care possible.
“I’m also really proud of how we positively impact the local community. Recently, we donated 100 easter eggs to schools in Morecambe. We also had a special thank you from Ofsted for a recent charity event where we raised £1,500 for charity on a series of sponsored walks.”
Operating childcare facilities is extremely complex. It’s not just about running a business, but also ensuring the needs of some of society’s most vulnerable people are met, as well as dealing with local authorities and regulatory bodies. Bay View, as a provider, have consistently been awarded ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted.
Paul: “There is no doubt that it is hard work. But if you make sure you focus on people, quality of care and staff development, everything else falls into place. It is also important to remember that building massive institutions that can home loads of children together isn’t necessarily the best thing. Smaller homes, who look after local children is what we do. It’s about quality, not quantity.”
Arbuthnot Latham work with commercial clients across a range of industries.
Shaun: “I am grateful to Paul & Martin for taking the time to explain their business and goals to me. Their focus on the quality of care and staff development really has set the standard for the sort of clients we would like to work with in this sector.
“Bay View now employ some 45 people across the business and they play such an important role in the local community; we’re looking forward to continuing to support them on their journey.”
Paul: “I can call Shaun and speak to him, it might sound like a simple thing, but that it is so valuable for a business that is expanding. You want answers quickly. With Arbuthnot Latham, Shaun, and the Manchester team, you’ve got that personal approach. They’re not a private bank, they’re a personal bank. They care about us and want us to succeed. What more could you ask for?”
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