Newry.ie

An eco-friendly child day care centre has opened in Newry following a six-figure investment supported by Ulster Bank.

Kidz Miniversity, formerly the Mulberry Bush, based on the Ashgrove Road in Newry, has relaunched under new management following a significant investment in its facilities and day care provision.

The new management team took ownership of the business in the first quarter of this year, retaining all existing staff and children.

Philip McNeill, Business Development Manager at Ulster Bank pictured with Kidz Miniversity Co-owner and manager Deirdre Conlon.
Philip McNeill, Business Development Manager at Ulster Bank pictured with Kidz Miniversity Co-owner and manager Deirdre Conlon. Photograph: NewRayPics.com

Co-owner Deirdre Conlon said, “It was in late 2018 when the nursery came on to the market and we were confident it was a business we could make work. The capital investment supported by Ulster Bank was important to allow us to purchase the nursery while using personal funds to invest in its refurbishment.”

Currently, it provides day care services for 29 children, with capacity for up to 39. At full occupancy, it will create further full and part-time employment opportunities in the local area.

Having gained experience working in German Kindergartens and seeing how advanced their thinking was in relation to the ecological and environmental issues, the Kidz Miniversity management team are adopting a variety of eco-friendly concepts.

Plastic toys and equipment will be replaced by more environmentally friendly alternatives such as wood.

“We’re all aware of the benefits of reducing our reliance on plastics. Our decision to replace plastic items is one of the many steps we’re taking to be a responsible business,” explained Deirdre.

“As well as being a touch-friendly material, wooden toys and equipment are robust, durable and, importantly, they’re biodegradable.

Philip McNeill, Business Development Manager at Ulster Bank pictured with Natasha Harte, Michelle Mooney and Deirdre Conlon from Kidz Miniversity.
Philip McNeill, Business Development Manager at Ulster Bank pictured with Natasha Harte, Michelle Mooney and Deirdre Conlon from Kidz Miniversity. Photograph: NewRayPics.com


“We’re encouraging the children under our care to connect with nature and the environment. These are issues that resonate with parents and guardians today,” said Deirdre.

Mini allotments have been introduced to bring children closer to nature and encourage healthy eating. “The children will plant seeds, tend to the allotments, watch them grow, pick the harvest and then eat the fruits of their labour. They’ll experience the process from start to finish in a way that is educational and encourages them to interact with nature,” Deirdre explained.

Kidz Miniversity Safeguarding Officer, Natasha Harte and Deputy Manager, Michelle Mooney pictured with Philip McNeill, Business Development Manager at Ulster Bank.
Kidz Miniversity Safeguarding Officer, Natasha Harte and Deputy Manager, Michelle Mooney pictured with Philip McNeill, Business Development Manager at Ulster Bank.

Philip McNeill, Business Development Manager at Ulster Bank, said well-resourced childcare is important to stimulate economic development.

“Investing in childcare services helps to create the support structure that will allow parents, guardians and carers to get back into meaningful employment and contribute to the local economy,” he said.

“Ulster Bank is committed to supporting responsible business owners and were very pleased to provide the finance that has allowed the Kidz-Miniversity management team to acquire one of Newry’s longstanding nurseries and invest to modernise its facilities.”

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