Proud day as unique Eastwood bistro opens thanks to £10k loan
IT WAS a moment of triumph and the result of years of hard work for businesswoman Patricia Ironside when she opened her second café.
Patricia launched her unique new venture, The D H Lawrence Bistro, at the award-winning Heritage Centre in Eastwood.
The bistro, which employs and trains adults with learning difficulties, opened last week.
Patricia, who also runs the Strawberry Fayre café at weekends and bank holidays at King's Mill Reservoir in Sutton-in-Ashfield, was able to launch the D H Lawrence Bistro, in Mansfield Road, thanks to a £10,000 loan from First Enterprise Business Agency (FEBA).
Both ventures are run on a not-for-profit basis and both employ and train people with learning difficulties.
She said: "It was such a proud day for me when we opened the D H Lawrence bistro. I was absolutely thrilled that we will be opening a second business where people, despite their difficulties, can learn how to run a café.
"They can get involved in all aspects of the business, from hospitality and food preparation to cooking. The adults, who are 25 years old and over, can choose to stay with us after their work experience, or can move on to other places of employment."
Established in 1989, Nottingham-based FEBA is a leading business support organisation which provides a range of services that help people start up and expand business throughout the East Midlands.
Patricia will be using the FEBA loan to help buy equipment for the commercial kitchen at the bistro.
The loan will also assist Patricia to market the bistro.
Neil Millington, of FEBA, said: "We were delighted to help Patricia. Our role within the region is to support start-up and growing businesses. We know that Patricia is already making a huge success of Strawberry Fayre and she is passionate about the new venture.
"Patricia's business is unique in that it not only provides a much-needed facility for the visitor centre, but it is helping to get people with special needs into employment."
At the launch event, Kimberley Paralympian Simon Wilson and the deputy mayor of Broxtowe, Councillor Iris White, officially opened the new-look D H Lawrence Bistro.
Patricia added: "The big difference between the D H Lawrence Bistro and other local cafés is that we offer training through work experience to people with learning difficulties. Working in our friendly café gives our trainees the skills and confidence they need to gain employment in the catering, retail and hospitality sectors.
The cabinet member for arts, culture and leisure at Broxtowe Borough Council, Councillor Richard Robinson, said: "This is an excellent initiative which will offer meals, snacks and drinks to visitors to the D H Lawrence Heritage Centre, while offering essential life skills and training to people with learning difficulties."