Approved – 6 October 2009


An expanding Durham nursery is taking its successful, high quality childcare service on the road to businesses around the north east.

Less than three years after first opening its purpose-built facility on the Belmont Industrial Estate, Clever Clogs Nursery now has more than 170 children on its roll.

And it has also developed a new mobile service, providing crèches with experienced staff in a variety of locations to meet both commercial and private childcare requirements.

Founder and mum-of-three Andrea Townsley is now actively looking for other organisations with which she can partner to help them meet the childcare needs of their staff or customers.

Clever Clogs employs around 40 people, and originally offered 72 places for children between the ages of six weeks and five years.

Its services proved so popular that the nursery was quickly able to expand into additional rooms in the building, growing the number of places available per day to almost 100.

It also has 28 places in a new after-school club for children up to eleven years old, and altogether offers five playrooms, separate sleep and dining rooms, and three different landscaped gardens, each of which is equipped according to the needs of different ages of children.

Clever Clogs was originally set up with the support of a £115,000 investment from Evolve Finance, the specialist debt and mezzanine finance division of regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers, as part of a wider funding package.

Andrea Townsley says: “The Evolve investment helped bring all my capital raising work together and was the starting point for everything we’ve been able to achieve since – we really couldn’t have done it without them.

“We’ve focused on providing a friendly, family atmosphere at Clever Clogs that makes parents happy to leave their children with us, and their children happy to stay – the growth in facilities and numbers is proof that we’re onto a winning concept, and the fantastic OFSTED report we received recently backs all this up.

“The mobile crèche side of the business was born from the growing needs of a wide range of location to provide childcare – from conferences and offices, to gyms, weddings and Surestart facilities, we’re able to send in an expert team that can take effectively manage the responsibility of looking after children.

“We know that many more businesses and organisations could make use of the mobile services we provide and we’re actively looking to grow this side of the business over the coming months in partnership with them.”

Joanne Pratt, investment executive at Evolve Finance, says:  “Andrea has always been very much hands-on with the Clever Clogs business, from both a childcare and a management point of view, and her passion for doing everything as well as possible for her young charges clearly shines through.

“Her ambition has turned her practical knowledge of looking after children into a thriving commercial venture, and we’re very pleased to be a part of her developing success story.”

For more information about NEL’s investment criteria, visit or contact Barrie Hensby on 0845 111 1850.
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For further press information, please contact Julian Christopher at Footprint Public Relations on 07891 005034 or via

Notes to Editors

Evolve Finance is the specialist debt and mezzanine finance division of NEL Fund Managers Limited. NEL Fund Managers Limited is authorised and regulated in the UK by the Financial Services Authority and is a member of the British Venture Capital Association.