A crafts shop which closed its doors in July has been given a new lease of life thanks to an employment initiative run by Karbon Homes.
Retired primary school teacher Annette Cooper from Burnopfield accessed free advice and support from Karbon to help her become self-employed.
Launched in May this year, the initiative has already helped six residents to turn their dreams of becoming self-employed into reality and has received glowing praise from those who have accessed the service.
The SOLO project is a joint initiative between Karbon Homes and social enterprise company Social Enterprise Strategies (SES), to give residents aged 16-65 years old living in Derwentside and Chester-le-Street the best possible start to becoming self-employed.
The free service provides residents with access to experienced advisors to help them develop their ideas into sustainable businesses. Advisors help them with business planning, market research, marketing & financial advice and access to small business grants and loans to give them the best possible start.
SES has more than 30 years’ experience working with organisations and individuals to provide business development advice and training workshops, which promote the benefits of enterprise and entrepreneurship in local communities.
56-year-old Annette was a regular visitor to the Crafts House located at the Old Post Office in Marley Hill, Gateshead before it closed its doors. Annette bought the premises in the summer and collected the keys in November and is now running drop-in sessions on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays between 10am-5pm and Sunday mornings 10am-12pm.
Visitors pay £6 per person per hour for use of all the facilities and materials and receive a warm welcome, a cuppa and a biscuit.