A 23-year-old mum has recently gained the confidence to start up her own business thanks to an Irvine-run charity’s interior design help.

Anna Templeton is now selling crochet and water colour paintings through her Instagram account (@_handmade_gems_ ) after attending the ‘Make It Your Own’ interior design programme run by creative arts charity, Impact Arts who have their North Ayrshire base in Bank Street.

The programme supports care experienced young people aged 16-26 to prepare them to take the steps in to entering their own tenancy or if they have done so within the last year, by encouraging creativity and DIY projects to help participants realise their vision for their own home.

This time last year, Anna was studying Health and Social Care at college but due to the COVID-19 restrictions that came in to place in March 2020 she was unable to finish the course in college and had to juggle studying at home while parenting her toddler.

Anna struggled to study at home with limited childcare and saw a dip in her own mental health.

She said: “I’ve suffered from mental health issues since I was young and with the lockdown being introduced it got significantly worse.

“I went from being in college three days a week with my son in nursery, to being his sole caregiver in the house alone as his dad is a key worker with the railway.”

One of Anna’s friends suggested she should apply to MIYO after attending the programme herself.

She added: “I have always been very crafty and I always need to be doing something with my hands, so I thought this would be a perfect opportunity for me to learn some new crafts that I could hopefully share with my two-year-old son at some point.”

The programme is normally run from the Impact Arts Bank Street base, but in light of the pandemic has been tailored to run remotely through virtual sessions so young people can continue receiving support.

Anna said: “I think this has helped me tremendously as it pulled me out of a haze, so to speak. Lockdown had got to the point where it felt like Groundhog Day, so the programme gave me something else to focus on while my son played or slept.”

Visit www.impactarts.co.uk