A Derby firm that supplies play equipment to schools and nurseries is thriving after benefiting from an increase in children playing outside during lockdown.
Cosy Direct, in Siddals Road, says it has received an unprecedented level of inquiries from teachers and childcare staff asking about products for outdoor learning and play.
When the Covid-19 lockdown first hit customers and suppliers in March, Business Live reports that the company saw its order book dry up and its operation grind to a halt.
But chief executive Peter Ellse said orders took off in July, August and September, as schools got to grips with social distancing measures so that children could start coming back into lessons.
He said: “Our sales virtually stopped dead when the coronavirus lockdown started, but a significant percentage of the products we have sold as they have recovered have come from our recovery curriculum range.
“The coronavirus has had an enormous effect on everybody’s lives, but while it has been extraordinarily damaging in so many ways, the fact that it has led to more children being encouraged to play outdoors is at least a silver lining.”
The firm supplies schools, councils and nurseries across the UK with thousands of items including climbing frames, reading shelters, story chairs and wooden counting blocks.
Last year, Cosy posted an £8.4 million turnover, and is in the process of moving to a new £2 million warehouse on the Derbyshire/Staffordshire border near Tutbury.
It employs around 80 people and was set up in 2011 by Mr Ellse and his wife Amanda, who wanted to establish an educational supplies company that was built along ethical lines, to promote a healthier learning culture for young children aged up to eight.
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It prides itself on its sustainable approach to business, with 87 per cent of its products sourced from the UK in order to reduce air miles.
It also has an emphasis on reusing and reinventing end-of-life products such as rubber tyres, of which it sells 10,000 every year by transforming them into mirrors, grass-covered seating or whiteboard circles.
Cosy Direct gives 10 per cent of its profits to charities and community initiatives in Derby and abroad, including Derby Kids Camp, Derby Book Festival and the YMCA.
It also sponsors five city children’s sports teams and has funded sports coaching in The Gambia and sponsored students to pay for their education in Kenya.