Berkshire mum Lucy Brown knows all about juggling her working life – bringing up a family while travelling the world as a high-flying business executive.
For more than 20 years, this mother-of-three, from Newbury, was a top marketeer with some of the UK’s leading IT and telecom companies including Oracle and NTL. But now she has embarked on a brand new challenge with her own specialist company -caring for other people’s children across the county and the whole of the M4 corridor.
Lucy, 42, wanted to change direction and work for herself so she set up Safehands Network(Thames Valley) to help meet increasing demand in the region for quality and reliable childcare – something she and husband Steve know all about while bringing up student daughter Robyn, now 20 and sons Lawrence,18 and Nick,10.
The company, part of a UK wide network, offers everything from hotel babysitting services to out of school care, holiday clubs and domiciliary care. But the big demand is coming from the mobile crèche facilities Lucy is offering for weddings and corporate projects, and now she is targetting major social occasions and high profile sporting events such as popular race days at Newbury and Ascot .
The crèche facilities, which are tailor- made to suit each individual occasion, include a team of qualified Safehands supervisors plus all the equipment from ball pools and toys to DVDS and arts and crafts and cost an average of just £500 depending on the timescale.
“Everyone is the same, too much to do and not enough time”, said Lucy.” So we step in and take all the weight off their shoulders.”
Recent Safehands projects have included a big wedding fayre and a prestigious crèche at a top multinational company-training day.
Now many major hotels in the Thames Valley area, including the Berystede Hotel, Ascot, Pennyhill Park Hotel and Country Club near Bagshot and the Runnymeade Hotel near Egham are looking to Lucy’s firm to provide baby-sitting assistance on a regular basis.
With over 30 carers and supervisors working on her team, Lucy, who lives in Compton, near Newbury, is covering a wide area taking in Reading, Basingstoke ,Bracknell, Wokingham ,Ascot ,Camberley Sunninghill and Slough and ,although she is operating the business from home at the moment, she plans to move shortly into a converted stable block on a nearby business unit.
“Business has been good but I want to get the message out to everyone in the area that if they want a one stop shop for anything to do with child care then Safehands are the experts. We are the leading company in Britain and genuinely care about what we do” said Lucy.
“We have had a lot of interest from schools, hotels, and directly from busy mums and dads. There is nothing more precious than our children and working parents, including us, know the stresses and strains of trying to juggle domestic and work life and all our Safehands staff are security vetted from the start so parents can rest assured”
Lucy, who says she is an eternal optimist and an enthusiastic team player, reckons she is now living the dream- literally .It was only last summer, while on holiday with her family in the Alps, that she awoke with a start having dreamed that she had launched a new baby-sitting business. Eight weeks later she put her plan into action.
Now with prestigious hotel chains including Hilton, MacDonalds ,Millenium and Copthorne ringing her up to order baby sitting services, the future of a whole new young generation in the region is definitely in Safehands.
Editors Update 15th January 2018
Child related franchises have continued to grow since publishing this article in 2006 and this and other child related franchises have assisted with more women running franchise businesses and the rise of the so called mumpreneurs. This franchise trend looks set to continue in 2018.