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Business & Economy

Blossoming new business aids local community

A new business owner is using flower power to inspire and educate a variety of North East community groups.

Sunderland-based Alison Hunter is combining her love and passion for floristry and her experience in mental health and social care to provide unique educational solutions and engagement to individuals, schools and local community groups.

Alison established Alison Hunter Floral Design with support from the North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC) and is delivering workshops as well as creating traditional and custom floral designs for occasions such as weddings and funerals which can be purchased online.

Alison explains:
“Flowers can be really therapeutic and the accomplishment you get out of creating something beautiful can be very rewarding. Flowers often hold a special meaning and can evoke happiness in a lot of people and having something to focus on often helps people who are struggling with emotional issues, which is why I wanted to inspire and educate people on how wonderful flowers can truly be.”

Alison’s hobby started over 30 years ago where she would create floral designs for friends and family.

Working in finance for many years as well as being a carer, Alison then went on to work as a regional trainer assessing health and social care apprenticeships. It was 2015 before Alison picked up the floristry again and completed her qualifications.

Prior to launching the business in October last year, Alison visited the BIC and worked with business adviser Margaret Cook and was supported through the New Enterprise Allowance programme. Alison added:

“I already had a basic business plan which outlined my intentions and I knew I could bring all of my previous skills together.

“Margaret helped me develop my own unique selling point and got me thinking about the various other services I could offer. Her encouragement was invaluable and she went above and beyond to help me create the best business I could.”

Alison delivers fun and educational workshops with children and young people in schools and community groups, linking learning outcomes to the practical activity of flower arranging.

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