Darlington woman carves out new career after redundancy

The Northern Echo: WOODCRAFT BUSINESS:Darlington woman Jan Needham takes her love for woodcraft from pottering in her garden shed to successful business making bespoke furniture. Picture:SARAH CALDECOTT (8158393) WOODCRAFT BUSINESS:Darlington woman Jan Needham takes her love for woodcraft from pottering in her garden shed to successful business making bespoke furniture. Picture:SARAH CALDECOTT (8158393)

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.

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.”

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