ukactive Vanguard member, Water Babies wins Best Franchise Award 2012

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04 December 2012

Leading baby swimming company, Water Babies, has been announced as one of the five winners at the 2012 Best Franchise Awards, which were held on 29th November in Oxfordshire. Water Babies beat off the competition to come top in the 'Best Mid-Size Franchisor' category and was also shortlisted for 'Best Franchise System'.

The awards, sponsored by Lloyds TSB and organised by top independent franchise consultancy, Smith & Henderson, formed part of The Best Franchise Conference. The conference included best practice seminars designed to help franchisors improve their support, franchise systems and network performance, with the awards ceremony held later that afternoon. 

Steve Franks, Managing Director at Water Babies, says: "As an organisation the single most important driver in our success, is 'people', and our ability to be the best that we can be is fundamentally underpinned by a core cultural belief that our people can do extra-ordinary things and very often do, thereby ensuring we continue to learn, develop and evolve as a dynamic and progressively thinking organisation. Therefore our recent success in being awarded the Best UK Mid-Sized Franchisor 2012 is a significant milestone in the history and story of our company's journey in the pursuit of excellence."

Steven Frost, Partner at Smith & Henderson, adds: "Congratulations to the whole Water Babies team for this tremendous achievement. The Best Franchise Awards are based on what really counts - the experience of thousands of actual franchisees. These shortlisted franchisors therefore have the best franchisee support, franchise systems and ultimately, the best franchise opportunities in the UK."

The shortlisted franchisors were selected based on feedback from over 2,000 franchisees, gathered via an anonymous Franchise Satisfaction Benchmark survey. The survey asked franchisees to rate the training and support provided by their franchisor, the franchise system and their overall franchise ownership experience. The final winners were determined partly as a result of franchisee feedback and partly by an expert panel of judges.

On 20th November Water Babies presented to the judging panel which included Richard Holden, Head of Franchising at Lloyds TSB, Graeme Payne, Partner at Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP, Carl Reader, Partner at Dennis & Turnbull Accountants, Derrick Simpson, Director at Franchise Resales, Suzie McCafferty, Franchise Consultant at Platinum Wave and Gary Rigby, Franchise Consultant at Franchise Development Services.

Richard Holden, Head of Franchising at Lloyds TSB Commercial, comments: "The Best Franchise Awards recognise outstanding franchisors and help drive up industry standards. The UK franchise market continues to display strong growth, reflected in the shortlisted nominees, and plays a vital part in the UK economy. Congratulations to all the winners."

Water Babies is currently celebrating its 10th anniversary and now teaches over 32,000 babies to swim each week across the UK, Ireland and Australia. This year alone Water Babies has won three awards at the What's on 4 Junior Awards, won 'best baby and toddler class' at the 2012 Family Go Live Awards and been shortlisted for the Tommy's Baby-Friendly Awards, with winners announced next year.

For more information about the Best Franchise Awards visit

For more information about Water Babies please visit


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