A Ripon mum-of-three has gained national recognition for inspiring children through arts and crafts classes.
Just months after launching The Creative Station, Sharon Fisher, 30, is delighted that the educational franchise has been nominated for ‘Franchise of the Year’ by website workingmums.com, after sharing how she came to set up the classes in Ripon and Harrogate.
Sharon, a former primary school teacher, was disappointed to leave a teaching position in 2012, but her priorities changed when one of her children was diagnosed with autism and another with possible additional needs, just as she fell pregnant with her third child.
Sharon said: “My first child was diagnosed with autism when he was ten and just as I became pregnant with our third little boy, it became increasingly clear that my second was showing some signs too. He struggles with change, new people and being away from me.
“Juggling teaching and two children with additional needs as well as a baby just wasn’t possible.”
Sharon decided she still wanted to make a difference to children’s lives, so sought a career that she could manage alongside being there for her family.
She said: “A friend recommended The Creation Station to me, as she knows I love art, and I was so impressed that I signed up pretty much straight away.
“I just fell in love with the whole concept of nurturing creativity from a very young age. Art bridges all boundaries and children of any ability can take part and go away with a sense of pride and achievement at making something uniquely theirs, born from their imagination.
“I honestly believe that creativity can be as vital as reading and writing to a child’s development.”
“A huge part of The Creation Station ethos is to encourage children to be independent, to inspire their imaginations and to take their art in whatever direction they want to. There is no wrong way. To be able to provide those opportunities to children in our area is such a privilege.
“And to be nominated for an award for doing something I love, and so soon into starting, is just unbelievable.
“I’m finding it so rewarding, especially seeing the children completely immersed in what they are doing, boosting their self-esteem and most importantly having fun."
Sharon now hopes to build the business across the region throughout the year, making it accessible to as many children as possible.
She is also making plans to work with a local group of children with autism and additional needs, and would like to get involved with other local family-focused groups and events.
Classes take place at St Wilfrid’s Community Centre in Ripon on a Friday, and at Woodland’s Methodist Church, Harrogate on Thursdays.