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OakNorth Bank completes loan to Little Explorers day care to support the acquisition and development of a second nursery

OakNorth Bank – the UK bank powered by OakNorth – has completed a loan to Little Explorers Day Nursery, based in Essex, to support the acquisition of an eight-bed detached house in Epping Forest and convert it into a nursery.

Founded in 2015 by Lee Stimpson, Little Explorers operated at 90 percent occupancy pre-COVID-19 and has received a number of accolades, including a nomination as one of the top 20 nurseries in London. By providing high-quality education and focusing on hiring level 3 qualified nursery practitioners, Little Explorers has managed to achieve a Good Ofsted rating and develop a strong reputation. Over the next 10-15 years, Little Explorers plans to open five more nurseries in strategic locations on the outskirts of London.

Lee Stimpson, Founder and Director of Little Explorers Day Care Nursery Limited, commented: “We’re very excited about expanding our portfolio – the first step into broadening it to several other nurseries in the next few years. Despite the ongoing challenges of COVID-19 we were able to demonstrate Little Explorers’ successful track record pre-COVID-19, and our growth plans for the years to come. As a sector that has been heavily impacted by the lockdown, I’m incredibly grateful for OakNorth Bank’s support during this time.”

Ben Barbanel, Head of Debt Finance at OakNorth Bank, said: “At a time when most lenders are retrenching from the SME lending market, we’re still seeing numerous opportunities to support strong businesses with their growth ambitions. Since the beginning of lockdown, we’ve approved over £110m in new loans, of which £40m are through CBILS. This transaction provided an opportunity to support a nursery business with an excellent track record in terms of both quality and occupancy. We look forward to continuing to work with the team in the future.”


Notes to editors

About the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)
CBILS is a demand-led scheme offering lending to smaller businesses with turnover of up to £45m. Invoice finance and asset finance facilities are available from £1k to £5m, while term loans and revolving credit facilities are available from £50k to £5m. The government makes a payment to cover interest and lender-levied fees under CBILS for the first 12 months. The scheme is due to close for new applications on 31 January 2021.

About OakNorth Bank plc

OakNorth Bank provides fast, flexible and accessible debt finance (from £500k to £50m) to fast-growth businesses and established property developers / investors. It has debt finance teams in London, Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham, Leeds and East Anglia.

Since its launch, the bank has:

It is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. 

Visit for more information.


Stephanie Kendall, Associate Director – Growth & Communications: / / 07752429643

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