TODAY’s trader of the week, which is a regular feature highlighting businesses across the North-East, is the Creation Station Darlington.

Arts and crafts provider The Creation Station Darlington is a franchise of a national initiative of the same name, led by mum-of-two Vanessa Whitehouse, which provides classes and activities for children.

“I began my franchise in September 2018 but the original business started in 2002 by our now-managing director, Sarah Cressall,” said Ms Whitehouse, a former primary school teacher.

“After having my second child I knew I needed a change due to the stress of my job causing anxiety and depression for many years.

“I love trying new arts and crafts activities myself and with my boys, and knew that they helped me to stay well with regards to my mental health.

“Between family fun sessions, parties and events, I also decided to run adult crafting sessions during the day, and later, on an evening.

“We work with all ages, from birth to 99-plus, to support and help people to be creative – it is not about ability, everyone is creative in their own way.

“So many people come to sessions saying they are not creative at all, but leave feeling really proud of their creations and wanting to show their family and friends.”

Ms Whitehouse said every time her email “pings” with a new booking is a memorable moment, describing excitement knowing she can help someone develop creativity.

She also remembers her first session with babies, toddlers and their families.

“I was so nervous and wasn’t sure how it had gone, but by the time I arrived home an hour later, I already had repeat bookings and amazing reviews from my lovely customers,” she said.

“And then there was the week that my usually quiet Thursday morning drop in craft session at Café Zest, House of Fraser, had 12 people come along and created some beautifully decorated canvas tote bags.

“In the future, I would like to work closely with nurseries, providing my pre-school sessions. I also hope to partner with some residential homes to provide arts and crafts activities to their residents.”

Contact The Creation Station Darlington on 07713-621952 between 9am and 10pm.

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