WHEN Rugby mum Mairi Cuthbertson found herself needing to stay at home to look after her learning-disabled son, she had to come up with a new way to earn a living.
So the determined 42-year-old built a workshop at the back of her Manor Road home and set up her own business selling items made from reconditioned unwanted goods.
Forced to leave her job as a teaching assistant, the mum-of-two, whose 14-year-old son Caelan has autism, is now calling on the authorities in Rugby to do more to help boost fledgling businesses like her own, including using empty stores in the town to set up pop-up shops.
Mairi, who also makes and sells her own dark chocolate fudge, said: “A few years ago I found myself in a place where I just wasn’t employable.
“I needed to be at home to look after Caelan and I couldn’t find any suitable childcare but I had to find a way to earn money.
“When I was young I did a course in furniture restoration and I’d always had a passion for that sort of thing so I started getting hold of unwanted items and doing what’s called upcycling – turning them into new items.”
Among Mairi’s items are lamp shades and tables made of old vinyl records.
She sells some items online and was recently part of a pop-up shop in a vacant store next to the town’s Natwest bank in North Street, selling her items with around 20 fellow tradespeople.
“I think we really need more initiatives to support people who are in a position like mine,” Mairi continued.
“I’ve met a lot of people who are in the same boat and there are some really enthusiastic people out there who want to try and make it but we need more help and initiatives which give us a hand with rent and business rates.
“There are so many empty shops in Rugby, surely it is better to use them to showcase the work of talented local people and help fledgling businesses than to have them sitting empty.”