The BFA (British Franchise Association) has announced the founder and Chair of children’s swimming franchise Water Babies, Paul Thompson, as the new Chair of the BFA. Paul joined the BFA board in 2018 and has served as the deputy chair for the last 12 months.

Paul Thompson founded Water Babies in 2002. He quickly built his business into a multi-award-winning franchise with 80 franchisees, covering over 60 territories across the UK, Ireland, Netherlands, Germany, Canada and China.  In 2022 Water Babies received the Investors in People Platinum Award, and this year became a Certified B Corporation™. Water Babies is now the world’s largest baby swim school teaching more than 47,000 babies to swim every week.

Commenting on his new appointment, Thompson said:

“It goes without saying that I am a huge advocate of the BFA and the work it does in promoting the highest standards of professional franchising and I am honoured and humbled to have been asked to be the Chair of our industry’s representative body and I am excited to play my part in the continued growth of the BFA.  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 tenure, outgoing Chair Ken Deary QFP, FCCA, the owner and Chairman of domiciliary care franchise Right at Home UK said:

“It has been an absolute honour to Chair the BFA for the last two years. The BFA performs a fantastic role promoting ethical franchising and best practice amongst an array of franchising brands, across a number of very diverse sectors and to have been the Chair of our trade association has been something I will always value with true pride.”

Ken added:

“I am pleased to remain a BFA board member and represent the BFA on the European Franchise Federation and look forward to working with Paul Thompson who I believe will be a skilled, safe pair of hands, to continue to guide the BFA from strength to strength.”

Pip Wilkins, CEO of the BFA concluded:

“Under Ken’s tenure the BFA has weathered the storms of the tail end of Covid and the current economic crisis 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 to me, the board and the association over the last two years.  Today we welcome Paul as our new Chair, eager to see what his extraordinary success in the franchise sector will bring to the role.”

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