Ashleigh & Burwood has joined the family of companies under the umbrella of Literacy Capital plc.

Literacy Capital has supported the main shareholders of Ashleigh & Burwood, as they start planning for retirement and succession. John and Louise Nettleton, who founded the company with their son Andrew in 1993, are both in their eighties and are now finally going to fully take their well‐deserved retirement.

Joining Andrew and the existing team to strengthen the board and executive management is Tony Buffin as Non‐Executive Chairman. Tony brings a wealth of experience, having successfully led Holland & Barrett as CEO and previously served as CFO at Travis Perkins and Coles Group in Australia. In addition, Jed Kenrick has joined the company as Chief Operating Officer to scale‐up operations. He previously served in similar roles at Dyson and Travis Perkins.

Literacy Capital will help to build on Ashleigh & Burwood’s impressive growth to date, broadening brand awareness with an increased focus on sales and marketing. It will also look for potential bolt‐on acquisitions that will add further scale to the business, while also providing diversification opportunities.Hugely important to the founders of Ashleigh & Burwood, Literacy Capital understands the family ethos of the company and will carry this forward as Ashleigh & Burwood grows and develops.

Top Drawer 2023

Additionally significant is the fact that Literacy Capital has an active charitable objective at its heart, which is to advance the education of children in the UK, in particular by promoting or supporting the development of literacy in communities where children are struggling.Literacy Capital makes an annual donation equating to 0.9% of the group’s net asset value, thereby providing consistent, long‐term and growing charitable donations as the fund increases in size. Since the creation of Literacy Capital in 2017, more than £4.3 million has been donated to charities focused on improving UK literacy.

One of the key beneficiaries of the annual donation is Bookmark Reading Charity (https://www.bookmarkreading.org/), which provides one‐on‐one reading programmes between volunteers in the community and children aged five to eight who need extra support with their reading.

Andrew commented: “The team and I are really excited by the new opportunities that this partnership with Literacy Capital offers. It has been a privilege working alongside our new colleagues for the last few weeks, and the wider experience and insight that they bring to Ashleigh & Burwood is already proving invaluable. We are also proud to be contributing to the Bookmark Reading Charity, both as a business and as volunteers.”

Bookmark founder and chair Sharon Pindar added: “I would like to say a huge thank you to Ashleigh & Burwood for all their hard work, as being part of the Literacy Capital family translates into donations for Bookmark, which enables us to support children falling behind with their reading: a vital life skill. Bookmark is going from strength to strength, and we are now supporting more children than ever before. However, since schools went back in September, we have faced unprecedented demand to provide volunteer-led reading support to children in primary schools across the country. We currently have more than 400 children waiting for a reading volunteer, and we’ve had to close to new schools. Without this support, these children may go on to be one of the one in four children leaving primary schools each year unable to read well.”

Are you able to help?

Bookmark needs huge numbers of reader volunteers to meet demand. It provides all the training and support, and it is an incredibly worthwhile experience for the volunteer. Each spends just one hour a week, split into two 30-minute sessions, supporting a child online for six weeks.

So how can you help?

  1. Encourage your employees and their families to volunteer for Bookmark at https://www.bookmarkreading.org/volunteer
  2. Share the urgent call to action with your wider networks, from suppliers and customers to social media followers
  3. Share within your own personal networks such as LinkedIn and WhatsApp groups.
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