The Ark Association Case Study
Mary Darlington is a Manager at the Ark Association a charity based nursery, run by a committee of parents and friends for the benefit of the community. With two locations based in Oakham they provide care and education for children ranging from 3 months to 5 years old.
Mary recognised that with increasing pressure on nurseries the need for good financial planning and management is key to the long term success of their settings.
NDNA appreciates that many other settings are facing similar pressures. In response to this challenge they created the Financial Management Tool, which is part of the Early Years Business Zone a free online toolkit dedicated to the sector.
As with all aspects of the Early Years Business Zone, NDNA worked closely with early years organisations to ensure the tool would be fit for purpose. Mary was heavily involved in the focus group that helped create the Financial Management Tool.
She has now invested the time to complete the tool with data from both her settings and is really pleased with the results: “It did take some time to input the required information but I am glad that I did as I am really impressed and happy with the result. It has been extremely helpful in many areas including budgeting, occupancy and staffing. We have used the financial tool for over three months now and it has provided financial information at the touch of a button.”
The Financial Management Tool has also helped provide vital management information to the charities’ trustees to assist with future planning, as Mary explained: “I am able to give them first-hand information on the finances of the settings and we are able to see where we need to make changes and how the numbers of children in each age group is increasing.”
NDNA are encouraging all nurseries to take advantage of this free tool as well as all the other resources on the Early Years Business Zone, which Mary approves of:“I would recommend the Financial Management Tool as it has helped us to get our finances into order. It is a free tool and once you use it you will see the benefit it can make to your cash flow and finances.