Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting TANEWS to 80360, or email
Victoria starts new career with family-friendly cafe
Buy this photo » An inspired idea led to Victoria Burrows opening a family-friendly cafe
Motherhood gave Victoria Burrows an enterprising idea – while on maternity leave with her second child, she hit on the idea of setting up a family-friendly cafe.
“I was living in Leeds at the time and thought there was nowhere to go with children where they can play and not be stuck to a chair,” says Victoria, 28, a mother-of-two from Bingley.
Her idea was to provide a place where parents can go with their children and feel comfortable without being stressed if their youngsters want to play rather than sit.
“They don’t have to worry if they are up and down or not sitting being very quiet,” she says.
Providing a place where mums feel comfortable breast-feeding and with sufficient space for prams and buggies was important to Victoria too.
She mentioned her cafe idea to a self-employed friend who encouraged her to pursue her idea. Support and advice from Business Link Yorkshire – a Government-funded service designed to promote enterprise – and Bradford Kickstart, run by Bradford Council and supported by organisations across the district, enabled Victoria to see her dream become reality.
She initially set her sights on high street premises in her home town of Bingley until she and a friend spotted potential in the former park cafe during a stroll through the town’s Myrtle Park.
“My friend said ‘let’s have a look at that – if you want a family cafe, that is perfect’,” recalls Victoria.
She admits she was daunted when she decided to leave her career selling mortgages for a building society to become self-employed.
“I remember when we went to pay the deposit. All the way down in the car I was wondering if I’d done the right thing. It is the most daunting thing I have ever done – it was terrifying but I was elated as well.”
Victoria’s worries soon passed when she opened Cafe in the Park at the end of July and, despite the summer downpours, custom is increasing as more people drop in and sample the home-made meals created by Victoria and her colleague, Joanne Sutcliffe.
Victoria has always enjoyed cooking and, being mothers, she and Joanne are aware of the importance of healthy, home-made food.
“I’ve always been quite good at cooking. I did a food hygiene course to make sure I am serving food safely, but the rest comes from experience of being a mum,” she says.
The menu is predominantly based on their own recipes, such as traditional staple meal shepherd’s pie. They also serve ‘light bites’, boiled eggs and ‘soldiers’, sandwiches and paninis. They even make their own baby purees.
“Everything is home-made, even the soups. Nothing comes out of a packet or jar. All the sauces are hand-made. It is simple, good food,” says Victoria.
“The idea is a mum can walk in with her baby and we have everything she would need.”
Working seven days a week and looking after her own children – Oliver, six, and Sophie, one – isn’t easy but Victoria says she is grateful to have a “very supportive husband” who encouraged her to open the cafe.
Despite her initial worries, she’s confident she has done the right thing. She has even invested in an ice-cream machine so is already looking ahead to the summer.
“When people started coming in we saw it really worked. It has a nice feel about the place and the mums and dads who are coming in are loving it.”
The most memorable comment so far came from a grandmother who called in with her grandchild. “She said we were an asset to Bingley,” says Victoria. “It’s amazing, and it gives you such a lovely feeling. The people who come in are so friendly and really lovely. Everybody is appreciative of what we have done.”
For more information about starting your own business, contact Business Link Yorkshire on 0845 6048048 or look on the web at businesslink.gov.uk.