A NORTH-EAST watch company that began in the bedroom of its 24-year-old founder and is raising mental health awareness has bagged £35,000 to support its growth.

Darlington-based Ellington Timepiece, a premium watchmaker that combines limited edition watches with mental health awareness, has been awarded £35,000 by the Business Enterprise Fund (BEF).

The fund has announced a record year of lending, adding over £44 million to the region’s economy - and 25 per cent of its loans were to northern entrepreneurs aged between 18 to 35.

Terri Ellington founded Ellington Timepiece from her bedroom with her last £30 after losing a job two months before Christmas.

Her first design, The Grey Sheba, was named after her therapy dog. Ms Ellington continued the mental health theme in a bid to encourage others to share their stories.

The BEF-provided funding allowed the firm to create new collections, launch a new website and secure professional marketing support.

CEO Steve Waud said: “When times are hard it’s nice to be able to put out some good news and try and encourage others.

"BEF is a small specialist lender that tries to disrupt the mainstream finance perspective with its approach to lending. We work to change communities through the innovative use of finance and have been delighted to support young entrepreneurs.”

Ms Ellington said: "I couldn’t have asked for a better investment manager. Lee, from the start, has always been at the other end of the phone whenever I needed guidance.

"He believed very much in my business and product and I could see this from the determination he showed to get my business accepted."

Mr Waud added: “Since Covid-19 hit, we have been working around the clock helping more businesses get the money they need to survive and then ultimately thrive.

"Our aim is to make a difference by using finance that transcends just adding shareholder value - ours is about - profit, people and place: the environment.”