National children’s nurseries network swoops for Yorkshire-based group

One of the largest networks of nurseries in the UK, the Old Station Nursery group, has acquired York-based nursery group, Little Green Rascals Organic Day Nurseries Ltd.

Little Green Rascals was founded in 2009 by mother-of-three and entrepreneur Vanessa Warn.

It was York’s first organic and eco-conscious children’s day nursery and has built up a portfolio of nursery sites and an after-school club in the city and surrounding area. 

The group caters for more than 1,300 families across its seven locations, looking after 550 children a day. 

These include Tadcaster Road, Elvington Lane, Bishopthorpe, Flaxton, Haxby, Minster Yard and Poppleton.

Old Station Nursery’s CEO, Sarah Steel, said: “We are committed to building upon the amazing, unique ethos that Little Green Rascals has established in being eco-friendly, with an emphasis on gentle childcare and children’s development through being in touch with nature across its sites in York. 

“Our aim is to ensure every child in our care receives the highest quality of support and education possible, while fostering a love of learning and respect for the environment.

“We are pleased that parents, children and staff at Little Green Rascals are joining our family and we look forward to meeting everyone in the coming months.”

Warn, the former owner of Little Green Rascals, said: “My family and I have absolutely loved every minute of our Little Green Rascals journey but feel the time is right to integrate ‘LGR’ into a larger group of nurseries as it enters the next chapter of its journey. 

“I know in my heart that Old Station Nurseries are the perfect fit and will nurture the team and our families. 

“I am immensely proud of what we’ve created  and how absolutely fantastic my staff team are. I’ll miss them, all our Rascals and their families very much but leave confident that the legacy will continue to be outstanding.”    

The purchase means The Old Station Nursery group now cares for more than 5,000 children daily across 78 nurseries.

The group has expanded rapidly since it became part of La Maison Bleue, the leading childcare provider in Switzerland and the third largest provider in both France and Luxembourg, since 2019.

Shareholders of Little Green Rascals were advised by Squire Patton Boggs and Sentio Partners.

Squire Patton Boggs’s team was led by Louisa Hine including Sarah Hardman and Chris Grayson, with corporate finance advice provided by Sentio Partners’ John O’Gara, Brooke Fenton and Dave Irwin.

John O’Gara, director at Sentio Partners, said: “It was a real pleasure advising Ben and Vanessa on the sale of Little Green Rascals.

“Their passion and commitment to providing outstanding childcare spans every aspect of the business and the strength of LGR’s cultures and values really shone through from the very first conversation.

“In Old Station Nursery they have found a great home for the business.”