Signs are good for mum’s baby business

GOOD SIGN ... Alison Hoy, right, with Tedco's Bill Hartshorne, Helen Morten and her 11-month-old daughter Edith.
GOOD SIGN ... Alison Hoy, right, with Tedco's Bill Hartshorne, Helen Morten and her 11-month-old daughter Edith.

A NEW business is hitting the high notes after a South Tyneside mum signed on for a new career.

Mother-of-three Alison Hoy, from Jarrow, recently launched her own Sing and Sign franchise.

Alison discovered the concept of communicating with pre-verbal babies through singing and signing, after attending a session with her daughter, Ella.

But she was disappointed to find there were no such classes in South Tyneside.

Mrs Hoy, 49, said: “I was amazed at how fun and easy it was to communicate with my baby before speech and wanted to learn more.

“Unfortunately, there were no classes in South Tyneside, and with two older boys to get to and from nursery and school, it was impossible for me to attend classes in North Tyneside.”

Undeterred, Alison and Ella started to learn from DVDs at home and the Jarrow mum’s boys were also joining in.

She eventually decided to turn her love of singing and signing into a career, adding: “I needed something that would enable me to work around our children, so I looked into buying the South Tyneside franchise of Sing and Sign.

“The programme has over 200 teachers in the UK, every one of them just like me – parents who discovered the joys of signing with their own children and wanted to teach other parents and turn it into their own small business.”

Mrs Hoy approached Tedco Business Support for help and attended one of its Get Ready for Business seminars.

She was later introduced to Tedco business adviser Bill Hartshorne, who provided a range of expert business and start-up advice.

Mrs Hoy bought into the franchise in February and started her first classes at Primrose Children’s Centre, Jarrow, and Ocean Road Community Centre, South Shields.

She added: “Bill and I get together every couple of months to to go over how business is going and to troubleshoot any issues I may have.

“His knowledge and support have been invaluable over the past few months – he is always just a phone call or e-mail away to talk through any queries and I would have really struggled without his help.

“The feedback from parents has been great and they are always amazed at how easy baby signing is to learn. Everyone with a pre-verbal baby knows that this can be a frustrating time, for the parent and baby. Babies are very intelligent and just because they cannot talk, does not mean they have nothing to say!”

Mr Hartshorne, for Tedco, said: “It has been an absolute pleasure working with Alison to guide her through the problems of setting up her own Sing and Sign business.”

He added: “I look forward to continue to work with Alison to build her business over the next 12 months – this will include offering more classes, nursing affiliation programmes, child minder workshops and visiting children’s birthday parties.”

The Ready for Business programme has already successfully created almost 3,000 new enterprises and provides a wide range of business and start-up advice.

It is hoped Ready for Business, which is supported by the Government’s Regional Growth Fund and Barclays and delivered by the Cavendish Consortium, will eventually create 6,000 businesses and create 10,000 new jobs.

For more details about Sing and Sign, visit or e-mail

Information about Ready for Business is available by visiting

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