Water Babies’ boss Paul Thompson takes over from Ken Deary.
Paul Thompson, the founder of swimming franchise Water Babies, has been named as the new Chairman of the British Franchise Association (BFA). He replaces the outgoing Ken Deary who is the owner of domiciliary care franchise Right at Home UK.
Paul steps up into his new role, having been the deputy Chair of the BFA for the last 12 months. Paul founded Water Babies in 2002, and the company currently has more than 50 franchise outlets across the UK, employing a total of around 600 teachers.
Water Babies has also expanded globally, with franchisees in Canada, China, Germany, Ireland and Netherlands. It is now a multi-award-winning business and has become the world’s largest baby swim school.
Across its entire network, more than 47,000 babies are taught to swim every week by the UK-based franchise. The company recently became a Certified B Corporation™ and, in 2022, received the prestigious Investors in People Platinum Award.
Water Babies teaches lifesaving skills, while taking each child on a journey of aquatic discovery, adventure and purposeful play. Adventures are tailored to every stage of a child’s development. All of their teachers are trained to achieve Swim England’s highest teaching qualification for the under-5s.
Commenting on his appointment, Paul said: “As a board member of the BFA for the past five years, it goes without saying that I am a huge advocate of the Association. The BFA promotes the highest standards of professional franchising and I am honoured and humbled to have been offered the role of chairperson.
“I would like to thank Ken Deary for his excellent tenure over the last two years and I will of course aim to continue his good work.”
Reflecting on his 24 months as Chair of the industry’s representative body, Ken Deary said: “The BFA performs a fantastic role promoting ethical franchising and best practice among an array of franchising brands. The BFA incorporates a number of very diverse sectors and to have held this position is something I will value with true pride.”
Ken, who is also Chairman of the award-winning Right at Home UK, added: “I am pleased to remain a BFA board member and represent the Association on the European Franchise Federation. I look forward to working with Paul Thompson who I believe will be a skilled, safe pair of hands. He will continue to guide the BFA from strength to strength.”
Pip Wilkins, the Chief Executive of the BFA, said: “Under Ken’s tenure the Association has weathered some sizeable storms, such as the tail end of Covid and the current economic crisis which the country finds itself in.
“He has, at all times, been a rock in stormy seas and I would like to thank him for his support and guidance over the last two years. We now welcome Paul as our new Chair, and are eager to see what his extraordinary success in the franchise sector will bring to this role.”
Note: The British Franchise Association (BFA) is the voluntary self-regulating governing body for franchising. It was formed in 1977 by franchising organisations that wanted to promote franchise systems which satisfied a strict ethical and business criteria.
Business format franchising is the granting of a license by one person (the franchisor) to another (the franchisee). This entitles the franchisee to trade under the trade mark/trade name of the franchisor. The BFA has a full list of its members, and the code of ethics to which these members subscribe, on its website: www.thebfa.org.