social impact report & annual statement

Those who can, Create

Former health service professional crafts a bright future thanks to a Start Up Loan from BEF.

Create is a community retail shop based in the thriving market town of Wetherby, West Yorkshire that sells craft products such as knitting yarn and accessories, craft kits and haberdashery, as well as a range of books and homeware. The concept of Create is to promote wellbeing through creative activities in a calm, comforting environment.

Create is owned and run by Alex Daniel, a former health service professional whose mental health illness in 2017 proved to be the catalyst for a new start. Following a period of personal reflection, Alex stepped off the corporate career path she was on in the health service.

Following her decision, Alex received an opportunity to pursue ‘a distant pipe dream’. Six months after her first signs of recovery, Alex opened Create with the support of friends, family and a £3,000 Start Up Loan delivered by BEF.

Alex said: “I love the fact that my shop makes people happy. I’m also loving being part of the community – I have already been approached by community groups to support them and I am working with people who have previously encountered many challenges in their lives to help them discover their creativity. This job has given me my life back.”

Alex overcame two major challenges to take Create from dream to reality. The first – financial support – was provided by family and the Start Up Loan delivered by BEF. This enabled Alex to invest in an EPOS till system, fixtures and fittings, and decorations to create shop and workshop room that is ‘an oasis of calm in the busy world we live in’. In addition to finance, BEF also delivered crucial information, advice and support to help Alex overcome her lack of retail experience.

After trading for only six weeks, Alex has met or exceeded, all her financial targets. In addition, Create is already recognised as a community resource that delivers positive social impact. Alex caters to people from all walks of life by offering products to fit all budgets and a programme of workshops.

The workshops range from encouraging youth people to take handcrafts to reducing social isolation through social crafting groups to one-to-one knitting support for all ages and ability. Alex is also working with a local support group for women with mental health problems. This work will lead to a Christmas craft session which will help raise funds for the mental health charity, Mind.

Alex continued: “I’ve set up a welcoming and relaxing environment which people are attracted to. One young boy recently informed me that my shop is his favourite in Wetherby!”

Through working with BEF, Alex has learned that thorough research coupled with access to good support and advice makes setting up a business less scary. Her advice to anyone who wants to start a company: “Ask lots of questions, find people like BEF who can support you, spending time drilling down to the specifics of what you want to do.”

Julie Micklethwaite, Start Up Loans Manager from BEF said: "I am proud to have helped Alex make her dream come true. Her vision, passion, and determination has provided the local community with a creative hub to connect, learn and share."

For more information on Create visit

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