Cardiff day nursery Si-lwli has come under new ownership, securing the future of one of the city’s few Welsh language nurseries, thanks to the support of a six-figure funding package from NatWest.
New owners Graham and Charlotte Forrester used the £250,000 finance, alongside their own investment, to purchase the nursery on Park Road in Whitchurch from the previous owner of 15 years, in February.
Despite only owning the business for a few weeks, the nursery closed in March under the government’s coronavirus guidelines and the couple spent three months transforming the two-storey Victorian building. The work included redecorating, building a new area for children under two years old and redesigning the garden.
The nursery has since re-opened after restrictions were lifted this month, with additional health and safety measures in place such as increased hand washing, regular deep cleans and minimising contact and mixing of staff and children.
Si-lwli was established in 2003 to provide quality childcare for the local community and was voted Welsh Day Nursery of the Year in 2018. The nursery has a total capacity for 51 children and is open from 8am to 6pm every weekday, offering a supportive and stimulating environment for children age 0 to 5.
Charlotte, a qualified nursery practitioner, and her husband Graham have become Directors of the nursery and have retained the existing team of 21 full and part-time staff.
Graham said: “When the opportunity arose to purchase Si-lwli, it was an easy decision for us, given our business and childcare experience, to take over ownership. Not only is Cardiff a growing city with increasing demand for childcare, but there are a limited number of Welsh medium nurseries like ours. With the Welsh Government’s vision for a million Welsh speakers by 2050, immersing children in the language at a young age is crucial.
“Thanks to the support from NatWest, we were able to purchase the nursery and use the time during lockdown to update the building, creating a more modern and child-friendly space for playing and learning. We have now reopened our doors and prospective parents and children can look around safely.”
Matthew Maunder, Relationship Manager at NatWest, said: “The funding we provided for Graham and Charlotte has allowed them to continue the presence of a Welsh medium nursery within Cardiff, as well as retain all of its existing employees. They made the most of lockdown and have reopened their doors with a newly renovated nursery ready for welcoming more children.”