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Browne Jacobson advises A Wilderness Way, its shareholders and its management team on Business Growth Fund's (BGF) investment

13 July 2020

Browne Jacobson’s Manchester corporate team have successfully acted for A Wilderness Way (AWW), its shareholders and its management team on an investment by the Business Growth Fund (BGF) in AWW), a leading provider of high-acuity, life-changing residential care for children at significant risk of exploitation, violence, crime and abuse.

BGF’s investment will support the growth and development of AWW’s child focused care services which incorporate a blend of trauma-informed therapeutic care, with the education of children and the quality of care being at the forefront of everything that they do.

The Browne Jacobson team advising AWW, its shareholders and its management team was led by Peter Allen, along with Ryan Brown and Bethany Pickup. The corporate team was closely supported by employment specialist Ian Deakin and tax specialists Andrew Noble and Christian Burchardt. Other advisers to AWW included MHA Moore and Smalley’s Corporate Finance and Tax teams. BGF was advised by Hill Dickinson.

AWW was established in 2007 by Geoff Jenkinson and Clare Houghton with the aim of providing bespoke short and long term residential care and educational programmes to help at risk children and young people re-build their self-esteem, resilience, mental well-being and employability.

Following the investment, Geoff Jenkinson will remain Chief Executive, Clare Houghton will be the organisation’s Multi-Disciplinary Team Director (MDT Director), Robbie Burke will become the Chief Operating Officer and Cheri Jenkinson will continue in the role Director of People and Organisation. They will be joined on the board by Non-Executive Chair Fiona Lowry, founder of several businesses in the healthcare sector, including The Good Care Group. BGF is a minority, non-controlling equity partner with a patient outlook, based on shared long-term goals with the management teams it backs. Operating through a 14 office regional network BGF has invested over £2.1bn of capital in over 300 companies to date.

Geoff Jenkinson, CEO of AWW, commented: “BGF’s ethos and values are well aligned with those that we hold so dear at A Wilderness Way, allowing us to continue to put quality of care and education of our children at the forefront of everything that we do.

“Quality, creativity, safety and creating opportunity for some of the most marginalised children in society is what we have excelled in over the last 13 years, and we are confident that this partnership and investment will allow us to develop further in accordance with our values.”

“I found Browne Jacobson’s approach throughout the investment process to be calm and efficient. The Browne Jacobson team managed and guided us through the legal aspects and worked with our financial advisors to ensure a smooth and timely outcome. Given that the investment took place during unprecedented times globally, Browne Jacobson adapted systems and processes which meant we could achieve our goal in a manner where we felt confident and supported throughout.”

Peter Allen, corporate finance partner, added:

“We are delighted to have acted for AWW and its shareholders on this investment which marks a significant point in the development of the business and the realisation of the vision of Geoff, Clare, Robbie, Cheri and the rest of the team. AWW and the management team have built an extraordinary and unique business, supporting some of the most vulnerable in society, and with BGFs funding and commercial expertise on hand, they will continue their inspirational work and ensure even more at risk children and young people benefit from their support in the coming years.”

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