Despite 2020 being a difficult year, with pools closed and classes postponed throughout the many different changes, the Puddle Ducks franchise network continued to support each other and their little customers throughout 2020.
The baby and child swim-school, which has 32 franchises across the UK welcomed two new owners in 2020; Sarah Cherry who brought the child-led lessons to Glasgow, and Rebecca Lomax who launched her new business in Norfolk. The company is pleased to have a number of new owners in the pipeline to come onboard in 2021!
The network has continued to be recognised for its excellence and leadership. The company was ranked at #26 in the Elite Franchise Top 100, the highest rated swim-school franchise, demonstrating that even in a year full of disruptions, Puddle Ducks are still leading the way in their sector. Franchisees, Victoria Rowley and Kim Pinnington, were both finalists in the 2020 NatWest Encouraging Women into Franchising (EWIF) Awards, and Kim was further recognised as a finalist in the bfa HSBC British Franchise Awards.
When the network returned to the pool, they experienced a huge surge in demand for their lessons, seeing increased customer numbers across all areas due to massive interest and a pent up demand.
Ali Beckman, Technical Director and Head Teacher at Puddle Ducks, spoke as an expert voice on baby swimming to both Baby Magazine and HELLO magazine in 2020, providing top-tips for taking your babies and children back to swimming lessons safely as well as providing guest content for fellow Franchisor, BusyLizzy and high-end retailer, JoJo Maman Bebe.
Puddle Ducks were unable host their usual pyjama parties to raise money for charity this year, instead launching a ‘Baby Bank Christmas Campaign’. Puddle Ducks head office, franchisees and their teams decided to give back to their local communities by donating much needed baby and child essentials to baby banks across the country.
Managing Director of Puddle Ducks, Jo Stone, commented: “After a turbulent year, we thought it was fitting to support a cause that helps many families in need across the country. We have fundraised in excess of £500,000 over the years for many different charities, and we wanted to continue this year despite the difficulties. The network enjoyed collecting and donating all manner of items such as clothes, nappies, toiletries, accessories, prams, buggies, food, and baby formula for baby banks across the UK. It has been a lovely way for us to give back this year to all the local communities of which we are part, after the pandemic has created hardship for so many families.”
Puddle Ducks are pleased to have continued experiencing growth and success despite their sector being affected by the pandemic. Their franchisees accessed a wealth of ongoing support throughout the year, with the head office team updating franchisees frequently on changing legislation, updated lesson plans, alongside support with changing COVID-19 restrictions and safety measures.
Customers were also kept up to date throughout the various lockdown periods, receiving weekly newsletters with information as well as tips for practicing swimming skills at home.
Puddle Ducks are excited for 2021 and are looking forward to all their little swimmers being able to continue to love their lessons, and of course have lots of fun. To find out more about Puddle Ducks, their franchising opportunities or their lessons near you, please visit https://www.puddleducks.com/.