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9 July 2021

Paul Thompson

Children’s Alliance Director

Founder of Water Babies, Paul is passionate about early years development and giving children the best start in life.
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Paul started out as a chartered surveyor, but adventure soon called and he took his family to a Caribbean island to live out his dream of working as a master diving instructor.

Unfortunately for them (but fortunately for Water Babies everywhere), an out-of-season hurricane destroyed the village they were living in and forced the family back to the UK. As a stay-at-home dad for a couple of years on their return, Paul soon discovered the importance of structuring the day and finding interesting, fun, and educational things to do with his baby daughter. He took her swimming one day…and the rest is history.

The family relocated to Yorkshire where Paul and his wife, Jess, began Water Babies in 2002, working from a high-tech desk (the top of a fridge) with one old phone and a staggering £5,000 start-up investment. But within a month, Water Babies had 100 customers and, not long afterwards, a franchise network. Under Paul’s watchful eye, it’s been growing ever since!

Paul now takes a more strategic, overview role at Water Babies, which has a network turnover of more than £30 million and teaches more than 80,000 babies and toddlers around the world every year.

Understanding the importance of early childhood development, Paul is now a driving force in Children’s Alliance. In 2020, Water Babies lost their CEO, Steve Franks, who was instrumental in the creation of the Alliance, to Covid. Paul then took over the reins and committed himself as a director of Children’s Alliance. He provides exceptional leadership and guidance, as well as years of knowledge and experience about children’s health and wellbeing.

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