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The sweet success of setting up a chocolatier-craft business

A creative gran has turned her lifelong hobby into a new business thanks to a scheme to help residents into work – and she’s already enjoying sweet success.

Beverly Stewart, aged 49, from Chorlton, joined the Bright Idea programme in October last year and has since developed ‘Chocs N Stuff’, a new chocolatier and crafts operation, from the comfort of her own home.

Beverley suffered a difficult eight months trying to find a job to fit around her lifestyle and family, including her two grandchildren, who she cares for.

But, having been encouraged by friends and family to use her passion for chocolate and crafts, she signed up for Bright Idea, run by social landlord Contour Homes and small business experts Blue Orchid.

Beverly said: “Being unemployed was awful. I never had to rely on Job Seeker’s Allowance before and I really didn’t like it.”

“However, it did give me the chance to define what I wanted to do and I am delighted I eventually took the risk and explored self-employment.”

Beverly runs Chocs N Stuff from the comfort of her Manchester home, creating an abundance of hand-made chocolates and crafts for all occasions.

She produces one-off personal favours, which are particularly popular at weddings, and also sells her products at craft fairs and urban markets.

Beverly is also branching out by hosting Chocs N Stuff parties, as well as offering chocolate factory teaching sessions in local schools.

Vicky Moore, ‘Bright Idea’ Community Business Advisor at Blue Orchid said: “Beverly contacted us because she needed some help growing her business. She had a great idea but just needed some support.

“We provided one to one business advice, free social media and business training, and since she joined Bright Idea, her business has flourished. We will continue to help Beverly on her exciting journey and I cannot wait to see what’s next.”

This support has enabled Beverly to design and create her own promotional material and grow her online presence, via a new Facebook page and website.

Anne McGrath, Neighbourhood Officer at Contour Homes, said “I am so impressed with the energy and enthusiasm Beverly has committed to her new business. Since working with the Bright Idea programme, Beverly has gained a lot of confidence and I wish her the best of luck for the future.

Beverly added: “I have never known a housing association to be so interested in tenant welfare and the local community.

“I am very grateful to Contour Homes for helping me fulfil my business dream and I would encourage others to pursue theirs by joining the Bright Idea programme.”

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