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Creative arts and crafts business builds on plans after support from The Growing Club

Zoe Blundell

Zoe Blundell offers a variety of workshops and events for children and adults, including sand art, build-a-bear and craft workshops. She facilitates events of all sizes, from small birthday parties to large corporate events.

Her business Sand Arts and Crafts, based in Morecambe, provides a great way for children to learn about different colours and patterns, and to use different materials and their creativity to make their own crafts. She is passionate about providing a fun and creative environment for children and adults too. Zoe joined The Growing Club after her fourth child, at the time she was at crossroads in her life and it offered the ideal way to find a new direction. At the time the starter workshops were also held in Morecambe, which made it accessible to Zoe, especially with a young baby in tow and no childcare to support her.

Tell us about your journey with the Growing Club?

I joined The Growing Club to help find a path back into the working world after having children. I joined its Sowing Club (now called Changing Direction) in early 2019 and took a six-week course. I continued with its the Roots to Shoots business start-up program at the end of 2019. In 2020, the world shut down, but the group continued online and eventually in person. I loved the support, and when they asked if anyone wanted to help out with the next course, I knew I wanted to help out. I became a trainee trainer in the second course, and due to popular demand, I became an assistant trainer in the third course. Now I run the group alongside a trainer as a co-trainer and I have also followed my own path onto the next course, Bloom and Grow.

What has been your biggest challenge of the last couple of years?

Definitely the Covid-19 years. My business is a personal and up-close interactive activity that cannot be run fully effectively over Zoom. I did run many workshops on Zoom during the pandemic, it works for people not local, but it doesn’t have the same magic. The risk assessments that resulted as we came out of lockdown to run events and all the extra cleaning, after everything was touched once, and using masks and hand gel, made it very onerous. It was necessary to keep everyone safe but it made everything too clinical and it also lost the impact of having fun and the relaxed nature of craft workshops.

What are your plans for the next 12 to 24 months?

Over the next few months my plan is to have regular events in local family pubs for the children, fully paid for by the venue. Also, to be invited and paid to run children’s crafts at local events. I would also like to run adult sand therapy activities and have team members running events that I can’t attend. In the next two years, I hope to have all the above in place and well as a permanent venue in Morecambe to run events including drop-in days over the summer, sand art workshops and build a bear workshops.

What is your biggest take away from your time with The Growing Club?

Unquestionable support and no judgement.

The Growing Club CIC is a not-for-profit organisation, facilitating fantastic skills and business training, creating opportunities for women, using a creative and alternative proven model. Based in Lancaster, it hosts workshops, courses and events for women starting up in business or seeking to return to the workforce.  This case study originally featured on its website.

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