Northrepps face painter among new business ‘graduates’ in north Norfolk

06:30 19 May 2014

Face painter Debs Hulbert with her daughter Sydney, 9.

Face painter Debs Hulbert with her daughter Sydney, 9. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2014

People who have started new businesses in north Norfolk have smiles painted on their faces after “graduating”.

New business 'graduates' in north Norfolk: Left to right Russell Wright (NNDC), Debs Hulbert, Jo Collins, Terry Law, Tom FitzPatrick (NNDC), Kate Wilde (Enterprise North Norfolk). Picture:  ANDY DAVISON/NNDCNew business 'graduates' in north Norfolk: Left to right Russell Wright (NNDC), Debs Hulbert, Jo Collins, Terry Law, Tom FitzPatrick (NNDC), Kate Wilde (Enterprise North Norfolk). Picture: ANDY DAVISON/NNDC

Among them is Debs Hulbert - a former high street fashion designer and Pontins Blue Coat entertainer - who is now a professional face painter.

She and 50 other fledgling ventures - from a spreadsheet wizard to a pest controller - have been helped by a scheme aimed at arming them with skills and tips to steer them on a solo course in the world of employment.

Mrs Hulbert from Northrepps designed shirt and tie sets for high street names such as Top Man and Burton after gaining a degree in fashion marketing.

During a spell as a singing, dancing, holiday camp entertainer she was put in charge of face painting because of her “art background. Now, after spells as a fashion buyer in London and a children’s entertainer and teaching assistant in Hong Kong, the mum of two move to Norfolk and she decided to make face-painting her career.

New business contact

Enterprise North Norfolk provides information, advice and training for people starting up in business in the area.

It provides training courses, advice, mentoring, and access to start-up funding.

It is delivered by Norfolk-based business specialists Engage with Business and jointly funded by North Norfolk District Council and Norfolk County Council.

Visit, call 01263 569360 or email

“I trained at the London School of Face Painting - yes there is one - but the new business course here helped with marketing and social media,” she said.

“It helps to have someone look at your business with a fresh set of eyes.”

The Enterprise North Norfolk scheme provides help with business planning, financial expertise, and ongoing support to help new start-ups.

Project co-ordinator Kate Wilde said: “We have helped more than 50 businesses since February 2013 - providing help in the early stage so they thrive.

“Some are celebrating their first anniversary, and are doing very well.”

North Norfolk District Council’s business enterprise and economic development cabinet member Russell Wright said: “There is new evidence that a rise in self-employment has taken a lot out of the unemployment figures.

“Schemes like this, providing support in the first year when businesses can fail through lack of preparation, are critical.”

Mr Wright said people going into business were taking a “very courageous step” but were vital cogs in the local economy.

Other graduates were:

Jo Collins (Stalham) - painting and decorating

Terry Law (Sheringham) - Spreadsheet Wiz spreadsheets design and training

Mark Bird and David Cox (Stalham) - new Hunters cafe

Lorraine Clayton (Holt) - lead generation for renewables client

Darryl Griffiths (Fakenham) -Coastal Timber Products

Trish Laraune (Fakenham) - teeth whitening and spray tanning

Robin Dennis (Fakenham ) - pest control

Sam Cane (Fakenham) one-to-one study support

Bill Johnson (Cromer) - home maintenance, gardening, painting

Paula Robertshaw (Cromer) - hand made crafts.

All the successful graduates from the scheme were presented with a copy of the Essential Business Guide to help them develop their ventures further. The awards event took place at the White Horse, Overstrand.

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