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South West firm shares success with Plymouth nursery children

Children at Plymouth University’s Freshlings nursery are among the first to sample innovative products from South West start-up business, Totsup

Sally Marks, creator of the Totsup Big Red Bus, has presented the nursery with some of her simple, fun and interactive reward charts.


In addition, four-year-old Elodie and William were chosen to receive their own big red buses, after impressing nursery staff with drawings of their families. Sally visited Freshlings nursery, which provides day care to staff and students’ children, to give the reward charts to Elodie and William and to talk to staff about how the red bus can be used to encourage positive behavior in the nursery.


Having recently been made a member of the GAIN20­ – the South West’s most exciting and innovative businesses identified by Plymouth University’s GAIN team – Sally Marks now has access to a unique mix of opportunities and support. Based in Somerset, where she works as a graphic designer as well as running Totsup, Sally was connected with Freshlings nursery through the GAIN20.  


Sally Marks said: 

“I have been developing the Totsup red bus over the last two years and it has undergone extensive testing as well as input from an educational psychologist and early years educators. While we now have a really good grasp of how it works in the home, we have less experience of seeing it in a nursery, so this is a great opportunity for me to get some ideas on how it can best work in a childcare environment.
“My reason for donating the buses was primarily to thank Plymouth University for the support they’ve given me in getting Totsup off the ground. As a GAIN20 member I’m delighted that they were able to give me match funding to support my Crowdfunding campaign, which has been invaluable in getting Totsup to launch stage.”

Freshlings nursery is run by University Commercial Services Plymouth (UCSP) and is based on the Plymouth University campus. Childcare and Education Development Manager at UCSP, Vicky Smith said: 

“At Freshlings nursery we are very open to new ideas and love being the first to try out new products or ways of working. It was great to see how well the children responded to the Big Red Bus, particularly Elodie and William who worked really hard on their pictures.”

As part of their remit to deliver business growth in the South West, Plymouth University’s GAIN team is working with partners across the region to bring together the GAIN20. The aim of the new network is to boost enterprise and innovation while working with Plymouth University’s students, and tapping into its research opportunities and world-class facilities. GAIN20 members have exclusive access to networking groups and events, Plymouth University facilities, equipment and knowledge and peer-to-peer support from the other members and a community of established pathfinder businesses.


Corporate Projects Manager for Plymouth University, Richard Adams, said: 

“We’re delighted that Sally has been able to forge links with Freshlings nursery. Not only has it given the children at the nursery the chance to try something new, but it’s also helping Sally to see how her big red bus works in a childcare setting.
“The first network of its kind, the GAIN20 is a unique opportunity for the South West’s hottest businesses to tap into a wealth of expertise, support and facilities. We’re seeing all sorts of unexpected benefits for the businesses and the university and Sally teaming up with the nursery is just the latest example.” 

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