Barking and Dagenham ‘mumtrepreneurs’ open fourth nursery

Barney Bears founders Sarah Hawkins (left) and Leah Clarke with Puja Vaghela at a recent college awa

Barney Bears founders Sarah Hawkins (left) and Leah Clarke with Puja Vaghela at a recent college awards ceremony - Credit: Archant

Two “mumtrepreneurs” have opened their fourth nursery.

Leah Clarke and Sarah Hawkins launched Barney Bears Nursery after becoming friends while studying childcare at Barking and Dagenham College in the nineties.

After opening their first nursery in Barking they expanded to Chigwell, West Ham and, most recently, Ilford.

About 85 per cent of their staff are ex-Barking and Dagenham College students and Leah and Sarah also offer students work experience.

The women are also on the board of the college’s Technical Skills Academy and carry out presentations for students in inspire them to follow in their footsteps.


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Leah said: “At college we always worked hard, listened to our tutors, attended work placements and participated.

“We love to head-hunt hard working students that are placed with us.”

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Leah and Sarah will celebrate 10 years of their business Barney Bears this year.

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