I’m sure many of you already know or have already met Claire Hall while coworking at The Tribe. Claire is an award-winning blogger and digital content professional with 20 years’ experience working in PR and media. She runs two blogs, Tin Box Traveller, which has been ranked as one of the top travel blogs in the UK, and Devon with Kids. You can read more about her here.
Claire was a Tribe Online member during the lockdowns and we got to know her and her business very well. She had shared her business goals, her challenges and what kind of help she needed to overcome them.
So when I spotted a new funding pot that had become available last November, I immediately knew that Claire could apply for it and it was highly likely that her project would get funded. I passed on the information, along with some morale support and she got her application in.
Stacey Sheppard of The Tribe, Claire Hall of devon with Kids, Sarah Smither of The Sail Loft
The Community Recovery Grant was part of the Government’s Covid Recovery Fund and was designed to support local businesses that were impacted during the lockdowns. The grant was awarded by the District Council and was available for businesses of all sizes.
The aim was to help to boost the local economy and kick-start a chain of positive business activities across the district with a total of £243,000 in funding.
Claire was one of 31 lucky businesses chosen to benefit from this funding. She received a £5k grant which enabled her to produce and market a children’s colouring book based on the South Hams’ area. Everyone involved in the project, from the illustrator to the printer, is based in the South Hams or South Devon area, so this is a real community project.
The South Hams Colouring Book for Kids is the newest in a range of children’s colouring books created by Claire and sold on the Devon with Kids website. The first colouring book was a joint venture with another Tribe Online member Sarah Smither, owner of holiday-let business Barrington House and bar and events venue The Sail Loft in Dartmouth. Together they created a children’s colouring book featuring Dartmouth town.
Intended as a children’s activity book and as a guidebook for visiting children to the area, it also promotes local tourism and hospitality businesses that families may wish to visit while they are in the area.
The Dartmouth colouring book was so popular that Claire decided to continue creating more books on her own and created another covering the whole of Devon. This came out in December 2021 and is raising money for Devon Air Ambulance Trust with a donation from every copy sold going to the charity.
Cllr Hilary Bastone, Deputy Leader of South Hams District Council, along with children and staff from nearby Kingswear Primary School, who helped choose the book’s narrator (Sammy the Seal), attended the book’s launch event held at The Sail Loft in Dartmouth.
South Hams District Council’s Executive Member for Economy, Cllr Hilary Bastone, said: “It is really satisfying to see one of our local and smaller businesses taking a grant and really making a difference with it. Claire and Sarah have used their funding to engage children locally and to support our visitor economy.
“The book encourages our visitors to go out and about to see what the South Hams has to offer, so it benefits the whole region. Their campaign has even encouraged Kingswear school to get involved too, along with supporting numerous local businesses. What’s not to like? It’s a fantastic success story and we’re thrilled that we awarded the grant to Devon with Kids.”
“Expanding my product range to three books in a year wouldn’t have been possible without the grant funding. I’m delighted to have been able to use this project to support other creative businesses in the area and highlight so much of what makes the South Hams a wonderful place to explore.”Claire Hall, Editor, Devon with Kids
The book is on sale online via devonwithkids.co.uk and in local shops, as well as being available to accommodation providers and hospitality businesses to buy and share with their guests.”
All photography by Claire Gillo Photography
If you need support or help to get a project off the ground or to turn your business plans into a reality, networking and making sure that the right people know what you need is invaluable.
Booking an occasional desk at our flexible office space in Totnes is a great way to meet other business owners you could potentially collaborate with to take your business to the next level. And make sure you sign up for our newsletter to be kept up-to-date about funding opportunities that we about.
Stacey Sheppard is the founder of The Tribe, a small community-driven coworking space in Totnes that caters to creative, growth-oriented female entrepreneurs by providing an inspiring working environment designed to foster collaboration, connection and community.