Anthony Hall painting

Member Article

Anthony Hall’s artwork… an inspiration for all

For anyone who is out of work and struggling to find a way forward in the current tough economic environment, Anthony Hall’s story will provide inspiration. He had painted as a hobby for many years but his varied formal career path had meanwhile culminated in him buying a gym as a going concern. Anthony had run the business successfully for several years until the boiler broke down forcing the business into liquidation, at which point he lost everything including his home.

Being at rock bottom, it took Anthony a considerable time to be able to start looking at how he could put his life back together as his confidence had been severely knocked. Eventually however, he began to think about turning his painting hobby into a business as job opportunities were thin on the ground. The experiences he had gone through meant that Anthony was very wary of going into business so he approached NBSL for coaching support to help him on his journey.

NBSL is a D-BIS (Department of Business, Innovation and Skills) approved and regulated Local Enterprise Agency with branches in six market towns throughout Northumberland including Alnwick, Ashington, Berwick, Blyth, Hexham and Morpeth. NBSL provides free and confidential coaching to anyone wishing to consider self-employment, with a view to assisting them to develop their skills, confidence and future strategy.

Anthony met with Julia Weldon (a Business Adviser who provides Enterprise Coaching based at the Hexham branch), who worked with him over a period of time to build his confidence and encourage him to develop his business skills further. He attended a group appointment to learn more about carrying out market research and doing business planning and later also attended a full day workshop on marketing to help develop his business skills in this area too.

Anthony then learnt that having been out of work for more than six months, he would be eligible to apply for the New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) through JobCentrePlus if he started a business. This support would help him financially during the early stages as his venture became fully established and so would remove some of the fears about becoming self - employed.

The NEA programme for Northumberland is managed by Gateshead Council and is delivered by NBSL. The scheme provides for eligible candidates to receive £65 per week during the first three months after starting their business and then £33 per week for a further three months. In addition a loan of up to £1,000 is available to fund the purchase of equipment for example. In order to access the funding however, clients must write a business plan demonstrating a viable business model.

Anthony worked hard to develop his business plan; building on the assistance he had received from NBSL to expand his skills. After being accepted onto the NEA scheme, gradually his confidence began to return and he started to approach galleries to see if they would take his work. Two paintings were quickly sold by the Biscuit Factory in Newcastle during their Nostalgia exhibition and now that Anthony has secured an agent to represent him, his paintings are being sold as fast as he can produce them. To see more of Anthony’s work which celebrates the spirit of the North in figurative works and representations of our industrial heritage, go to

For more information about NBSL services for people who want to start and grow businesses, and to contact us to see how we could help you to achieve your dreams, go to or telephone us on 01670 813322.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Phil Langton .

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