REDUNDANCY has allowed a North-East woman to carve out a successful new career.

Darlington artisan Jan Needham turned her back on the office and moved into her garden shed in a bid to establish her own business.

Ms Needham worked for more than 20 years as a student finance advisor at Darlington College before being made redundant in 2011.

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She now spends her time crafting bespoke furniture out of reclaimed and sustainable materials for the business she runs from her garden shed.

Somewhat aptly, the business – Berkano Wood – takes its name from the Anglo-Saxon for birch, the tree of renewal.

She said: “I decided to do something slightly different and had the chance to do something I’d been interested in for a while.

“I’m enjoying it because it allows me to be flexible and creative and do something that feels like it has a nice end result.”

Eco-friendly Ms Needham insists on only using reclaimed wood in her creations, which include coffee tables, mirrors, memory boxes and toy chests.

She said: “It’s very important and key to the business – if I can’t use reclaimed wood I’ll use sustainable so that I’m not robbing the planet of anything or over-using resources.

“I am hopefully creating something beautiful that is not causing issues for anything at all.”