Baby Boom Spurs Plans for Office Park Crèche

The following article was sent to us, and while local authorities are making cuts in their children’s services, there are child care developments which suggest a growing economy.

White Rose Office Park in Leeds is forging ahead with an onsite crèche, as part of Munroe K’s plans to expand the 580,000 sq ft Office Park by up to an additional 7,000 sq ft. There are now 5,300 people who work on the Park and they have been waiting for the development of crèche facilities. The developer is now urging crèche operators to come forward to run the operation.

The owner of White Rose Office Park, David Aspin, claims that the timing is perfect, “Following a post-recession baby boom and with market conditions on the up, we are confident that now is the time to move forward with our plans. We are currently looking for a crèche operator to run the facility. The chosen company will play a strategic part in the working lives of the people that work here at White Rose and therefore it is important that we get it right. Companies are currently being invited and, in fact, head-hunted to operate the crèche.’’

Aspin added, “In modern-day life, and with talk of the recession still very much on everyone’s lips, it is now more than ever that both parents are finding themselves having to work. If this is to affect employees at White Rose Office Park and within the Leeds area, as a developer, I need to consider what measures I can take to make their working life easier. At White Rose Office Park we push the boundaries when it comes to the work/life balance, with our ‘Liftshare’ and ‘Cycle Club’ schemes already enabling us to incorporate our employees’ lifestyle choices.”

A recent poll carried out at the Office Park highlighted that an enormous 78% of staff would welcome and use an on-site crèche, with 85% of employees at DePuy – one of the Park’s key occupiers – having children under five years of age which they would consider enrolling in onsite day-care, thus meaning that from DePuy employees alone, there would be enough children to fill the 6,700 sq ft crèche to full capacity.

According to the Office for National Statistics, the number of three and four-year-olds enrolled in full-time childcare in England has risen by almost a quarter over the past five years, from 429,900 in 2002 to 725,115 last year. What’s more, the number of women in full-time employment has risen by 145,000 over the past 10 years to 7.6 million.

The combination of rising birth rates and the percentage of children living in single-parent families has undoubtedly led to a monumental increase in the need for quality childcare, more so after Yorkshire and the Humber have seen a 5.6% rise in births over the last year alone.

Dr Bharj, OBE, Senior Lecturer in Midwifery at Leeds University explains this increase, ‘‘Leeds, being a metropolitan city attracting working people, is a key factor. There is also some international migration and, in addition to this, Leeds has two universities which attract a large student population, all of which influence and increase the percentage of women giving birth in Leeds. The childcare industry is in a position to benefit from the increases we have seen and the White Rose Office Park is responding timely.’’

If any crèche operators are interested in this opportunity, please contact Ian Haines at the Park.

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