A PHOTOGRAPH taken at Mwnt Beach has topped a national photography competition revealing a snapshot of business during lockdown.

Phil East, from Glan Conwy, was chosen as one of five winners from entries from all over the UK in the PopUp Business School Summer Photo Challenge, which revealed through pictures how businesses have been faring during the coronavirus crisis.

Phil said: "My business is delivering qigong classes - Chinese exercises based on mindful breathing and gentle movements.

"I had been working in Mental Health for about 12 years and offering these classes as many people find them beneficial for stress, anxiety and depression, when I decided to reduce my hours and run some community-based sessions for the general public.

“In January 2020, I made qigong my full time business.

"At the time that the Covid-19 pandemic forced us into lockdown, two of my inspirational teachers, in Hastings and Sydney, began offering classes via Zoom. I was quite sceptical that qigong could translate to this forum but joined their classes to see how they were delivered.

“Then I contacted people from my classes and offered some free sessions asking for honest feedback. This was a steep learning curve and I couldn't have managed without the support and feedback from those willing to try qigong on Zoom.

"And the most rewarding aspect, is those people who have been so appreciative to have contact with their class and to have a positive focus in their week. It was great for my mental health, too, knowing I was doing something rewarding.”

PopUp Business School, which helps people from all walks of life to launch their own businesses, asked people across the UK to take a photograph which illustrates their business, or business idea.

CEO Simon Paine said: “Business has changed so much in the past few months, we thought it'd be really interesting to get a glimpse into their world.

“We know many businesses have moved their operations online and are interacting and serving customers in a different way. However, due to lockdown, this has all been happening behind closed doors. We've seen far less of one another so it's been great to take a look inside.

“We’ve had everything from online pubs to beekeepers, from beach loving artists to lego loving opticians. Business during lockdown has been colourful, diverse and sometimes a bit weird, to be honest.”