Wonder Years Childcare in Rossbracken, Letterkenny, is expanding after being given an €40,000 energy grant.
Business owner Marcella McNamee says she’s delighted with the news.
The business, now on the cusp of a new chapter, was set up almost 10 years ago when Marcella joined the Back to Work Enterprise Scheme in conjunction with Donegal Local Development Company. She now runs the business with her husband Vincent and together they provide a valuable service with 125 children attending the centre on a weekly basis.
The husband and wife team have a story, which in today’s climate, is unfortunately few and far between. However, with hard work, steely determination and massive commitment to customer service they have built a business that in the past few weeks has had some very good news to help it’s growth plan for the future.
KBC Bank has approved a substantial loan to complete an extension which the couple started two years ago. Meanwhile, a green energy grant from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland amounting to €36,455 was approved last week under the Better Energy Workplaces 2011 Programme.
The money will be spent on developing a comprehensive greeen energy works programme including integral walls, spray foamed roof, a geo-thermal heating system and low-energy lighting with PIR systems.
“I’ve long held the view that we should go down the green energy route and we are deligthed to have the support of the SEAI. This grant means that we will reduce our energy overheads by a massive 50% while at the same time realising our green energy dreams,” says Vincent.
Wonder Years Childcare currently employs 18 people. The purpose-built facility has a fully equipped kitchen, eight rooms consisting of a baby room, toddlers, pre-school, playschool, montessori and a Naoínra which is a stand-alone building.
Over the past 10 years they have won a number of accolades including the Nick Love Spirit of Enterprise Award in the year they set up. Marcella joined the Back to Work Enterprise Scheme and 10 years on they haven’t looked back. Marcella says it was the stepping stone that she needed.
Pobal have been a previous supporter of our business in terms of our expansion plan and we are grateful for their support too.
They attribute the success of the business to date to sheer determination and understanding the business of childcare. “We knew what we wanted for our children and in turn we understood what our customers wanted. Our business ethos was that the facility would be warm, friendly but most of all homely and be a home from home.” says Marcella.
The couple have three daughters, Shannon (11), Andrea (10) and Caitlin (6).
They built the business during the boom at a time when Ireland was at full employment and when it was the norm to have two parents working. This was the time when the business grew significantly. During 2003 the business even offered a 24-7 service which was a sign of the times.
The current building is 6,000 square feet, but the expansion plan will see it more than double by 7,000 square feet. But much of this extension will be dedicated to recreational areas for the children including a gym, sand and water rooms and chill-out rooms. This development will double the numbers of the business and Vincent says “with the current demand we are confident that we will reach our new potential capacity.”
Marcella puts the success of the business down to the fantastic team that they have around them. Lucinda McGee and Fiona Black have been with Wonder Years Childcare from the first day the doors opened.
The project will be finished at the end of November with the completed expansion creating 10 new jobs for the local economy. This will come as good news to qualified childcare assistants. Details of the job vacancies will be posted on their website www.wonderyearschildcare.ie and their facebook page in the coming weeks.