AN Old Town entrepreneur is opening a new pottery studio as part of what she hopes will become a creative hub on Eastcott Hill.

Jo McAree has converted an old school building into a creative hub, Eastcott Studios, where she hopes various small businesses will eventually offer their services.

She formerly ran Wizard Education a social enterprise for vulnerable or disadvantaged young people on the site.

So far a Caribbean style café has been opened, and a pottery studio will officially open today, Tuesday.

Jo hopes to use Eastcott Studios to create a safe and relaxed environment, in which people can build confidence and creativity.

She said: “We want to be self-sustaining, and provide a service to the local community. Our main aim is to build self-esteem, self-confidence, and help people to socialise.

“There are lots of groups in our society that get left out. They slip between different provisions and they can get lost. For example, there are groups in their 50s, whole groups of people who are very capable but have been made redundant. At that age, it’s very difficult to find something else. What I would like to do is focus on that group and provide a safe, social, friendly social environment that's supportive.”

The studio is only the first step in the larger plan to create a hub, which Jo hopes to extend to incorporate a variety of creative workshops, classes and craft sales.

“I’m hoping to have a whole range of creative things here,2 she said.

"We’re looking for crafters and small businesses who are just getting started to join us,” she said.

The studio isn’t Jo’s first business venture. Previously, she has owned a cake shop on Wood Street, a café at Coate Water and she currently runs a web design business and catering company.

Jo said: “Knowing exactly what it is that I’m offering has been the hardest part. It’s a case of focusing on where I want to go. I have lots of ideas and things that I want to bring in, but I’m trying to do this one step at a time.”

Information on classes and workshops at Eastcott Studios can be found at