Mum-trepreneur takes the plunge as Devon swim school goes nationwide

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Authored by News Desk
Posted Wednesday, May 8, 2019 - 12:24pm

Local mum-trepreneur Laura Skilton celebrates her baby swim school business going national having already helped more than 5,000 children in Devon and Hampshire learn to swim since launching seven years ago.

Laura Skilton, who runs swim sessions in Exeter and Crediton, has rebranded her successful Baby Paddlers swim school this month launching as a national franchise programme which is already gaining interest from all over the country.

Baby Paddlers – now known as Baby Squids – is a well-established, highly successful swim school for 0-4-year olds focusing on building children’s confidence and their love of the water.

“When I had my son Harry, I was frustrated at not being able to find swim classes that created a fun, and relaxed atmosphere and encouraged water confidence. So, following redundancy from my job I decided to set one up,” Laura said.

Based in Winchester in Hampshire, she has built up the business from scratch with husband Martin Skilton and today has 24 staff overseeing 188 classes per week across 19 swimming pools in Devon, Hampshire and four other southern counties. She always knew it could grow even bigger. 

With a wealth of experience under her belt, and a desire to spread her method further afield, Laura and Martin are taking the bold and timely step to rebrand and launch a national franchise programme. 

“I’m so passionate about our business and the unique way we teach swimming, I always knew we were going to go national. It was always a matter of time. So, after our third child turned one, we knew we had to go for it. It’s been a hard slog for us to get this next step off the ground. A real labour of love. I’m so proud of what Baby Squids can offer parents, children and local communities,” Laura continued.

From this month Baby Paddlers has been replaced by Baby Squids branding across all on and offline communications and media. At the heart of it all Baby Squids remains the same dedicated baby and child focused swimming school, which is now open to franchisees across the UK. This is something which pleases long-standing local teacher Kristina Tyldesley-Holley too.

“I’ve loved teaching baby swim classes in Devon for more than ten years. Seeing hundreds of children attain a lifelong skill has given me a lot of joy. Knowing that I’m now part of a brand which will see our classes go national doing the same for children in other counties is very exciting,” Kristina Tyldesley-Holley said. 

Baby Squids runs in two separate pools in Devon at The Waie Inn, Zeal Monachorum, near Crediton and at Ellen Tinkham School in Pinhoe near Exeter.

Over the years Baby Squids has supported the community by raising money for local charities and Laura’s business is also currently nominated for two national awards.