Redundancy has turned out to have a silver lining for Sarah Wareham and Darren Ingram.

Former High School Music teacher Sarah, and banker Darren, were made redundant around the same time. But they had a new path to follow with help from UK Steel Enterprise.

Sarah had always wanted to run an eatery, and the two decided to take the plunge into self-employment and launch Woodies Diner just off Blackwood High Street.

They took over the premises in the busy Valleys town, and the business is flourishing.

Sarah had previously taught music at Blackwood Comprehensive, and Darren was an accountant with Lloyds Bank.

“I had always wanted to run an eating place, and we were delighted when this place became available.”

Woodies offers a varied menu of fresh, homemade meals for adults and children, sandwiches, milk shakes and smoothies, and, of course, coffee. A free delivery system operates to customers in Blackwood, and the plan is to extend this in the future.

WiFi is complimentary, and a swipe card system allows regulars to accumulate points, which they can spend in the cafe.

The business received a £500 Business Start Up for essential equipment such as a fridge and signage. The Business Start Up grant is administered jointly by Caerphilly County Borough Council and Tata Steel subsidiary UK Steel Enterprise.

Woodies is aiming to take on two new staff in the near future, and has retained the two who worked in the previous business.

Glyn Thomas, Area Manager in Wales for UK Steel Enterprise, said: ”Woodies not only adds to the range of eating places in the town, but is also planning to take on more staff and create jobs, which is always good news. We wish them all the very best.”

Caerphilly County Borough Council Cabinet Member responsible for Regeneration Cllr. Sean Morgan said, “Our partnership with UK Steel Enterprise allows us to provide the much needed financial support for those starting out in business, coupled with the support and advice from the Council’s dedicated Business Enterprise Support Team we hope to set businesses on the right path to grow and flourish.”

Photo Caption: Flourishing: from left Glyn Thomas UK Steel Enterprise, Cllr Sean Morgan and Claire Vokes Caerphilly County Council, Sarah Wareham and Darren Ingram.

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