An after-schools business which delivers wraparound care in primary schools across Antrim and Newtownabbey, Belfast and Bangor has created 11 new jobs in the past two years.
The Fox’s Den growth spurt comes after the company received support from an OPTIMAL business growth programme Mentor, provided by Mallusk Enterprise Park.
Founder Sinead Fox from Newtownabbey, who now employs a team of 14 qualified childcare professionals working across five primary school sites, said the help has been “totally invaluable”.
“I couldn’t have grown the business so significantly and so fast without the expert support and guidance provided to me by the OPTIMAL mentoring programme and appointed Mentor Colleen,” she said.
“The help afforded has been totally invaluable to me and my small business and by growing The Fox’s Den to the level it is at today it means that we can help more primary school aged children, their parents and caregivers, add value to the education of our local children and enable working families to continue in their roles which all contributes positively to the local economy.”
About The Fox’s Den:
The Fox’s Den is a fun, safe and secure environment located in the child’s school. Setting up this secure link within schools provides each child with a clear definition in their day, while reducing travelling time for parents and their children – meaning only one drop-off and one pick-up per day.
The Fox’s Den childcare team focus on physical and outdoor play, while still allowing time for homework to be completed. The business has achieved five stars from the Environmental Health Trust and always ensures children in its care are offered greatly nutritious snacks.
Registered by the Northern Health and Social Care Trust, all children are supervised under a ratio of 1:8 staff to children – this helps staff to build a good relationship with parents and children. All staff are fully vetted by the board and have a minimum level three in a childcare qualification to ensure The Fox’s Den always offers an excellent service for all children in its care.
The Fox’s Den childcare service is currently available at the following primary schools across Northern Ireland:
- Cavehill Primary School, Belfast
- Bloomfield Primary School, Bangor
- Kilmaine Primary, Bangor
- St Malachy’s Primary, Bangor
- Whitehouse Primary School, Newtownabbey
The Fox’s Den wraparound care is available from 8am to 6pm during school holidays and from 2pm to 6pm during term time.
About Sinead Fox, founder of The Fox’s Den:
During her 16 years working with children – and being a parent of two herself – Sinead identified a gap in the market for safe, affordable childcare after the school day. After doing her homework, the research showed that the type of childcare offered by The Fox’s Den wraparound service best suited primary school age children.
Having successfully completed her level three and level five management in childcare, as well as numerous play board and special need training courses, she is committed to ensuring that the Fox’s Den team continually meet the needs of working parents and provide a very high quality service.
About Mallusk Enterprise Park:
Established in 1992, Mallusk Enterprise Park is a local enterprise agency located in Newtownabbey. Operating as a social enterprise, Mallusk Enterprise Park is committed to supporting individuals and businesses in the Newtownabbey area, throughout each and every stage of their entrepreneurial journey. Through various programmes, events, initiatives and available spaces, the experienced business advisory team at Mallusk Enterprise Park provide advice, guidance and resources to help entrepreneurs realise their business goals.
Mallusk Enterprise Park operates from a purpose-built business park offering 50,000 square feet of workspace, office accommodation, meeting and conference spaces including private huddle rooms, co-working desks and a professional mailing address service to more than 60 local businesses and their 250+ employees.
About the OPTIMAL Business Growth Support Programme:
The OPTIMAL Programme is Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council’s principal business support and growth programme. It provides free, tailored business support in the form of workshops and specialist mentoring to support the development of a more prosperous economy within the Council area. Mentoring is a proactive way to stop and take stock of your enterprise and think about what you’re doing.
Who can apply?
Small to medium sized businesses and social enterprises with a registered business address in the Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council area.
This project is part-funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the Investment for Growth & Jobs Northern Ireland (2014-2020) Programme.
The OPTIMAL Programme is not currently open for new applications. To stay informed by email about business growth support programmes for entrepreneurs, businesses and social enterprises in the Newtownabbey area, join the Mallusk Enterprise Park mailing list: ‘Newsletter Sign Up’