Redundancy has led a South Tyneside mum to venture into the world of self-employment with the launch of her own coffee shop.
Leanne Silmon opened the doors to Cappuccino Kids at Westoe Crown Village in South Shields on December 5, with a special guest cutting the ribbon.
I have had lots of support from the local community.Leanne Silmon
Santa himself came down to find out more about the 32-year-old’s venture and to meet some of the coffee shop’s newest customers.
Mrs Silmon, from South Shields, said: “I’ve got two children aged five and two and there are some lovely coffee shops and cafes in the area.
“But when you have a little one and they are into everything and they are making such a noise, it made me feel a little bit uncomfortable, especially as some people visit cafes for a bit of quiet time.
“I had been made redundant and I was ready to get back into work after having my second child, and I decided it would be great for people to have somewhere to go with their pre-school children where they can play and their parents can enjoy a cuppa.”
The venture was self-funded by Mrs Silmon, and along with the cafe area, it features three different areas for youngsters to play and learn.
The play area has a range of toys suitable for babies up to pre-school, there is also a role play area and a story corner.
A TV playing pre-school programmes has also been included in the children’s area.
Mrs Silmon, who worked with adults with learning disabilities before taking her redundancy, added: “We found the building back in April and after everything was sorted we opened the doors on December 5.
“It has been amazing, it really has been unbelievable. It has been really busy since we opened and I have had lots of support from the local community.
“Santa came down to officially open the coffee shop and all the kids who came down on the day enjoyed themselves.
“The feedback we’ve had has also been great with people saying how easy it is for access, especially with double buggies.”
The coffee shop is open Mondays to Fridays from 9am until 4pm and on Saturdays from 9am until 2pm.
From next year, the venue will be available for children’s parties on a weekend.
For information on the coffee shop visit Facebook page cappuccino kids.