British Franchisor Awarded OBE in King’s New Years Honours List
Posted on 18th January 2024 at 10:52
Sarah Cressall, founder of the multi-award winning arts and crafts franchise, The Creation Station, has been awarded an OBE in the 2023 King’s New Year Honours List. Sarah, 56, was given the award for her services to creativity in education, entertainment and business.
An OBE, (Order of the British Empire) is awarded to a person who has a distinguished regional or county-wide role in any field, through achievement or service to the community including notable practitioners known nationally.
When complications during pregnancy confined Sarah to a wheelchair, she attended local activity groups with three preschool aged children but found they were very prescriptive with all the children having to do the same things. As a result, Sarah identified a gap in the market for activities that engaged and sparked each child’s natural curiosity and in 2002 she launched The Creation Station.
Sarah awarded the first Creation Station franchise in 2007 and today has 61 franchisees offering creative arts and crafts experiences for children and adults. These include parent and baby workshops, preschool STEM classes, afterschool and holiday camps, birthday parties, adult creative craft workshops and Paint & Sip events. Activities are also run in partnership with leisure centres, holiday camps, local pubs and care homes.
Head office runs a creative activity entertainment agency which provides franchisees with contract work and leads. Event entertainment includes activities at shopping centres, festivals, in-store events and the Kids Zones at both the Olympic and Commonwealth Games.
As a nationally recognised brand that has shared their classes and events with 1.8 million people to date, and who have the largest number of reviews on Trustist of any children’s activity provider in the country, they are also involved in collaborations with international brands such as Hasbro, Sky and Crayola and are the expert creative provider for OOMPH care home trainer.
The Creation Station has received a 5* Franchisee Satisfaction Score from WorkBuzz for the last three years and were recently named as number 39 on the Elite Franchise Top 100 List. The franchise donates products, workshops and online activities to many national and local charities including Home-Start and Starlight Kids.
Sarah first joined the BFA in 2009 and served on the board from 2019 to 2022. She said: “It was always important for me to do things the right way, so I went to the BFA for that help and advice and stepped up to serve on the board, not only to continue to raise standards in the industry but also to ‘give back’ to an association that has been so supportive to me and my business.”
Discussing her award Sarah said: “I am of course delighted that my work has been recognised and I’d like to thank my husband Duncan and our three boys Sam, Ollie and Josh for their support and all our fantastic franchise partners and the team at The Creation Station, but I’m also really pleased for the franchise sector. I think the benefits of investing in a franchise are still not fully recognised by many people and I hope this award will help to further raise the profile of franchising as an ethical, professional business model that can offer fantastic self-employment opportunities to millions of people across the UK.”
Pip Wilkins CEO of the BFA said: “I remember having my very first meeting with Sarah, sitting at her kitchen table at her home in Devon as she launched the franchise over twenty years ago. From that day to this she has been a prime example of a franchisor who has run their business in an ethical and professional manner, abiding by our and her own, strict code of conduct. We are absolutely thrilled that her hard work and professionalism have been recognised in this way, and that in turn it has created a very public ambassador for franchising in the UK. Congratulations Sarah, the industry thanks you and we look forward to seeing more exciting things from the Creation Station in the coming years.”
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