A STROUD mum who became a successful business woman against all the odds is now transforming one of the town's empty pubs.

Chrissie Lowery - whose business ideas have earned her an award from the Dragon Den's Theo Paphitis - is launching a creative collaboration centre in the Swan Inn on Union Street on December 3.

"It's called Craftology and will not only sell beautiful handmade gifts and household items but it will also be a drop in centre for crafting and support," said Chrissie.

A multi-award winning business owner and co-founder of the Shop Handmade website, her new venture combines her business savvy with her love of crafting and belief in its therapeutic benefits.

Chrissie recently won the Single Mum Business Network’s Overcoming Adversity award as she has been on quite a journey.

She used to be a psychiatric specialist nurse until she became chronically unwell in 2013 and her love of crafting helped her through.

Her son was diagnosed with autism, later the same year, and she taught herself to sew and made him a cuddle bed to help him sleep.

Chrissie’s cuddle beds are now one of the many handmade products she sells online.

And last year she won a lockdown hero award, which was for the scrubs organisation in Stroud, even though she was being diagnosed with heart disease at the same time.

Chrissie said that lots of people with chronic illnesses turn to crafting, both as an enjoyable and therapeutic activity, and also as a way of earning money.

"A lot of crafters and artisans have chronic illnesses, so they craft from home," she said.

The Swan Inn is currently being decorated and shop fitted, with local businesses helping to get it ready in time for its relaunch as Craftology.

It will officially open its doors during Stroud Goodwill on December 3 with local author, speaker, photographer and host of Our Spiritual Life, Susie Mackie.

Margaret Reid from MRDS in Woodchester is making the displays for the shop and workshop area.

A selection of local artists will be showcasing their work in the shop, including Pete Tuffrey, Andrew Bill and Laura Wood.

Crafting sessions and workshops are also being planned for early next year.

See www.shophandmade.co.uk or email on Craftology.handmade@gmail.com