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28.06.06
Falmouth-based franchisor expands into the Midlands

Rachel Jones of Fit 'n' Fun KidsFit 'n' Fun Kids, of Falmouth, is celebrating the recruitment of a new franchise outlet in Coventry. This follows the success of the company's pilot franchise in Addlestone, Surrey, and the opening of a retail children's clothing outlet in Falmouth's Market Strand, both launched with help from Business Link Devon and Cornwall.

The Fit 'n' Fun Kids concept offers children under 12 a structured programme ranging from mobile physical development classes to children's entertainment and support creches for corporate, private and charitable events.

The company also runs a runs a 75-place nursery in Falmouth where it provides a full range of childcare including pre and after-school and holiday care.

It is less than five years since former child national gymnast and legal secretary Rachel Jones took the plunge by buying a second-hand Transit van and opening her first Fit 'n' Fun Kids classes in a church hall in Falmouth. She and her fireman husband Stephen sold their house and moved in with her mother to fund the start-up of the business.

"As a working mother with two children Oliver, 12, and Amy, nine, I was motivated by the lack of sufficient childcare and activities for my own children and those of my friends," explained managing director Rachel who was named Child-Care Entrepreneur of the Year in 2003.

The company employs 23 people at its Tregoniggie Nursery in providing day care and mobile services and also in the new retail unit. Seeking to expand, Rachel decided to franchise the business and was advised by Business Link Devon and Cornwall personal business adviser Clare Whitney who sourced funding to produce extensive franchise and training manuals.

"Clare supported me to launch the franchising venture and was involved from the start," explained Rachel. "She put me on the right track and continues to do so – a great deal of my success is due to help received from Business Link. She is now helping me to develop further by franchising in Cornwall and to expand the clothing side by finding a designer and manufacturer to create my own brand."

Rachel added: "The nature of the franchised business, which can be flexible and where most services are provided during school hours, with administration carried out at home, particularly suits mothers with school-age children who may be looking for a fresh challenge. Our contacts and knowledge mean that there are immediate earning opportunities for those who choose to franchise our mobile services while the ranges of children's clothing and party outfits at our retail outlet are also available to franchisees who are successfully selling it via party plan. Again, this activity suits mothers seeking self employment with flexible working hours."

Clare Whitney said: "Rachel Jones has displayed remarkable business flair. A mother of two young children, she originally developed the business to suit herself but it has proved so successful that it provides fantastic opportunities for women nationwide to get back into business on their own terms with extensive support and training from the franchisor."

Looking to the future, Rachel forecasts a continuing and growing demand for good child care, fuelled by the Tax Credit system which supports many parents returning to work with childcare costs: "There is still a great need for childcare places," she said. "We have a waiting list at our Falmouth nursery where an expansion is planned."

For further information please contact Carolyn Daw on 01566 771863 or email: cdaw@marketing-pr.co.uk.

The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in Business Link through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF).

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Editor's notes:

Business Link provides a free information and enquiry service via an information gateway on the web www.bldc.co.uk and via the telephone on 0845 600 9966 to all businesses and those considering starting a business. Additionally, it provides impartial business advice and support through a network of partner organisations, which it co-ordinates, and a register of independent business practitioners.

Business Link for Devon and Cornwall delivers the national Business Link service to the region under contract from the South West of England Regional Development Agency, which was established by government in 1999 to promote the long-term economic success of the region. It does this by working with others to give people the skills they need, encourage enterprise, improve infrastructure, help communities with regeneration and promote the strengths of the region.

Business Link has received Objective One investment (European Regional Development Fund and EAGGF) to help companies improve performance and grow.

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Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk

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