The third franchise of Midlands-based Sandstone Yoga & Pilates has opened its doors in Bearwood, Sandwell, following funding from NatWest.

Entrepreneur and yoga instructor Lis Sheridan and her partner Kayley Hall have used a £35,000 funding package from NatWest to set up and fit out the third Sandstone Yoga & Pilates studio, which is located on Bearwood High Street.

Following a 10-week refurbishment programme, the former Natural Foods shop that had been empty for 18 months has been transformed into a yoga studio for up to 25 people, as well as two changing rooms and a reception area.

The studio offers yoga, meditation and breathing practices, as well as courses for trainee teachers and social events for the local community. Lis and Kayley will run the studio alongside a team of 10 self-employed teachers. Further instructors will be added as the business grows.

Sandstone Yoga & Pilates was established by Michelle Nicklin in 2015 when, after practising yoga for 30 years, she saw the opportunity to build and grow a more professional brand, promoting the benefits of yoga to others. The brand currently has other studios in Sutton Coldfield and Aldridge, but Michelle plans to expand beyond the Midlands and across the UK.

Owner Lis Sheridan said: “I started yoga classes 10 years ago before deciding to train as a teacher myself. When I found out that Sandstone Yoga & Pilates was franchising, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to take yoga to the next level and gain independence in my career.

“The team at NatWest have helped me with budgeting and considering what was viable for my business and their funding and advice has been invaluable in helping me through the setup of my first business.”

Gemma Dixon, relationship manager at NatWest, said: “The Sandstone Yoga & Pilates brand has established itself as a key name in the Birmingham area and a strong franchise option. Right from our initial discussions with Lis, it was clear that she is passionate about yoga and the funding we have provided has enabled her to open her own franchise of a fantastic brand.”