Redundancy led to new start for mum
MUM-OF-TWO Mandy Salt has bounced back from redundancy to transform a former bowling club into a nursery.
Little Gemz in Milton has created three new jobs and Mandy is aiming to take more people on as its client base increases.
The 52-year-old, from Eaton Park, suffered a double blow in 2010 when she and husband David were made redundant within a month of each other from Co-operative Retail Logistics in Eccleshall.
Mandy was first inspired to set up the business after visiting a nursery with her daughter Louise, aged 26, and grandson Tyler, now aged three.
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She said: "Tyler was born prematurely – he only weighed two pounds eight ounces so he's very precious.
"The whole thing started when I went to see a nursery with Louise. I won't name it but she definitely didn't want to leave him with people like that.
"I said, I'm sure we can do better."
Mandy originally identified a property in Newcastle to launch Little Gemz, but planning wrangles meant the deal fell through. She set up a childminding business from home while searching for another suitable base.
Mandy said: "We went through the whole planning process for the property in Newcastle but an issue came up with the owner and our solicitor advised us to back out, so we had to start all over again."
It was then she discovered the former bowling club in Millrise Road, Milton, was available.
The building has been completely refurbished and Little Gemz opened its doors earlier this month.
It has the capacity to look after 52 children and already has around 14 on its books, aged from nought to three-and-a-half.
Mandy said: "At the moment it's me, my daughter Louise, a chef and one other, but it will need around 11 people when we're full. I'm trying to build our client base first and I've got more staff waiting in the wings.
"Over the last 12 months I've got my Level 2 NVQ in childcare, as has Louise, and my manager has Level 3.
"But that's not to say I wouldn't be willing to train someone up if I thought they were really good."
Mandy has been supported in setting up Little Gemz by Business Enterprise Support Coach Gaynor Parkinson, who is based in Bentilee.
Gaynor said she is extremely proud of her achievements. She said: "Little Gemz has opened for business due to Mandy's pure determination and focus."
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