Case Study: Practically Family- Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund
Secured £75,000 NPIF loan from GC Business Finance
Practically Family, a Wilmslow-based childcare businesses that offers flexibility for families, has experienced rapid growth that is set to continue thanks to a £75,000 loan from NPIF – GC & River Microfinance, which is managed by GC Business Finance in partnership with River Capital as part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF).
Practically Family was founded in 2015 by husband and wife team Sophie and Kane McCumesky. They set out to provide childcare services to families who found that the typical nine to five offering didn’t suit their needs. Beginning life as bespoke wraparound childcare service, they were quickly a runaway success and realised that they needed to expand to meet the demands of modern families looking for something different.
Four years ago they set up their destination Holiday Clubs before taking their boutique nursery, The POD, into a 4000+sq ft unit in January 2022. The POD is a flexible childcare setting with provisions for children from birth to age 11 and the first ever childcare setting that flexes around families. They provide the same Ofsted regulated, teacher led provision you would get in a nursery, with all the flexibility of a crèche, including evenings and weekends. Parents can book from as little as 1hr 15min to full day sessions to anything in-between. Its team of 32 work to provide parents with childcare support when they need it.
As the new POD was being built, Sophie and Kane sought external finance to help with the build and kit out. They wanted to create a magical space where children could learn, explore, and play.
After securing the £75,000 NPIF loan from GC Business Finance, the team were able to complete the project, with The POD incorporating a forest school and a sensory room to ensure the space is universally inclusive. They also opened their first ever Pre-school with indoor and outdoor classrooms, science and computer areas. Preschool has proven to be such a hit with new and existing POD families that it is now full until 2026.
Sophie McCumesky, founder of Practically Family, said: “Childcare shouldn’t be a worry, and I’m incredibly proud that we’ve been able to find a solution that can flex to the diverse needs of families. Thanks to the team at GC Business Finance, we were able to create a space the children and parents love! The POD is having a really positive impact on our community, and I’m excited for the future, which could see more POD’s opening in the near future!”
Andy Nichols, senior loan manager at GC Business Finance, said: “Practically Family is a business that we are proud to have supported. A real disruptor, Sophie, Kane and team are challenging our ideas about what modern childcare should and could look like. Following the pandemic, we’ve seen how important flexibility in day-to-day life is, and I’m glad that we were able to help them on their way to opening up The POD.”
Sean Hutchinson at the British Business Bank, said: “It’s essential that NPIF supports businesses like Practically Family to grow and prosper. We’re encouraged to see GC Business Finance complete yet another NPIF loan, and we hope this funding will make a huge difference to Sophie and Kane as they scale their business.”
The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.