THE owner of a pottery painting studio in Bewdley says she feels “part of the town”after business-boosting schemes from the council helped kick-start her project.

Barbara Miller, who runs the Melting Pot, Load Street, successfully applied for rate relief and empty shop refurbishment grant money from Wyre Forest District Council in October last year to help move her business from Lax Lane so she could benefit from more passing trade.

After completing the move in November, she doubled her year-on-year income in the run-up to Christmas.

The business gives customers the opportunity to buy personalised gifts and people can paint plates and other pottery themselves.

“I needed to move and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without any help,” said Mrs Miller, who started the business in 2008. “The grant helped with electricity, decorating and signage.

“I feel part of the town now. I am on my own at the moment, working my socks off, but the extra help also means next year I will be able to employ someone.”

Mrs Miller, a former worker for Kidderminster-based disability charity My Way Self Advocacy, also runs regular workshops for people with disabilities and several community groups also use the facility which also hosts birthday parties.

“It is a really good community business,” she added. “It benefits the whole town because people come here from places such as Bridgnorth and Dudley and stay in Bewdley and I 100 per cent believe I would not have got here if not for the council’s help.

“I know a lot of people would love to come into the town and this is the sort of thing that can help them. I spoke to friends outside Wyre Forest and they could not believe the help I was getting.”