AN architect who recently started her own practice has been awarded a significant boost as she looks to establish her company.

Sarah Harrison, who started Harrison Architects Studio two months ago, won a start-up competition launched by Allendale Estates.

Her prize was two years of free office space at the estate’s South Acomb business park.

Sarah talked about the process of starting her own company, and the advantage winning the competition has given her.

She said: “I’ve been in practice for seven years. Two months ago I started up my own firm.

“It’s exciting and nervy. My friend sent me a link to the competition. I thought it was a great opportunity.

“I started my firm to make architecture open to everyone, not just the elite. My biggest client is Ince Blundell Hall. It’s a nursing home run by sisters in a former stately home.

“They’ve got loads of old barns and buildings on site It’s my life and soul at the minute.

“The office is great, I love it. All the people get on really well, and it’s nice to come to work somewhere and be part of something.

“My clients have come here and been impressed by the office. Finding a premises would have taken up so much more of my life.”

The competition was launched by Bywell Business Parks, part of Allendale Estates which is run by Wentworth and Vanessa Beaumont.

The Beaumonts, along with Guy Opperman and Chris Down, judged the entries – and Sarah’s business plan impressed the most.

Vanessa said: “These offices used to be one site, but when that person moved on we thought there’s a market for hubs. The idea is we can get a bit of community. All our different clients can meet and share ideas.

“It’s a great place to work, you’ve got all the things you want and you don’t have to fight for a parking space. I hope it improves people’s working life."