OakNorth Bank, the digital bank for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs, has provided a £20m loan to Phoenix Learning and Care, a leading provider of specialist education and residential care for children and young adults with a range of additional needs.
Established in 2006 and now employing over 500 people, Phoenix Learning and Care Group operates 41 sites including residential children’s homes, specialist education schools & colleges and ongoing adult care (in the form of residential homes and supported living settings) across the South of England and Wales. Its mission is to meet every individual’s social and educational needs, enabling young people to flourish by always putting them at the centre of its thinking and practice.
Regulated by Ofsted, CIW, Estyn and CQC, the Group supports children and young adults cope with their life experiences, providing them with the skills to be effective, productive and valued members of society. The business is also backed by Ashridge Capital, who specialise in partnering with ambitious management teams and providing private equity capital. Founded in 2009 by David Sherratt, Ashridge Capital has a proven track record in helping build successful and market leading businesses.
The £20m loan from OakNorth Bank will be used to support Phoenix Learning and Care Group’s acquisition of new residential care and education sites, as well as refinancing existing debt. Situated throughout the South West of England, South Wales and having recently increased its presence in Berkshire, recent new sites include the Grange, Neptune and Ty Monmouth Schools, located in Thatcham, Bristol and Newport respectively.
François Delbaere, CFO of Phoenix Learning and Care Group, commented:
“Every member of the team at Phoenix is passionate about improving the quality of life and outcomes for the people we support. From our headquarters in the South West of England, we continue to grow across the South of England and Wales, this bespoke funding from OakNorth will help further accelerate our growth. This was our first time working with OakNorth Bank and we found their approach dynamic and entrepreneurial throughout the entire lending process. It was great to see Stewart and his team take time to really get to know our business and its key drivers – an approach we haven’t seen from other lenders we’ve worked with previously.”
Stewart Haworth, Director of Debt Finance at OakNorth Bank, added:
“Following the launch of Phoenix Learning and Care 17 years ago, it has built up such a positive reputation across the South of England and Wales. The level of experience that the business has to offer, coupled with its hugely talented team, puts it in the perfect position to capitalise on the growing demand for specialist education and care services. With over 260 children and young adults benefiting from Phoenix’s services, we’re delighted to have been able to support such a well-renowned and established provider of specialist education and residential care and we look forward to watching their growth story going forward.”