In the spotlight with Sue Kelbrick

After being made redundant from her role as feature writer, Liverpool mum Sue Kelbrick wondered what to do with her life. What followed was a whole new chapter in her career as a coffee shop owner!

As a busy mum of four, she enjoyed going out to meet other mums for a brew and a chat but she noticed it was not always that easy to find a totally family friendly cafe.

Often, there’s not a lot of room for manoeuvring prams around and not a lot for children to do, making them fidgety and fractious, making it hard for mums to hold down a conversation.

Of course, there’s lots of soft play centres but while the children might be letting off steam, you may have to compromise on the catering. So she come up with a solution to keep everyone happy.

Sue launched Wigwam Coffee Shop on Rose Lane in South Liverpool, which gives parents and kids the best of both worlds. With quality coffee and tea and freshly prepared food for the grown-ups (the home-made cakes are to die for), plenty of room for prams and high chairs and a wealth of educational and fun activities for the children, this is a truly family-friendly coffee shop.

Wigwam, on Rose Lane in Mossley Hill is going from strength to strength having established itself as something of a lifeline for many parents in the area. And Sue is delighted with the welcome it has received.

She said: “It just shows how much of a need there was for somewhere offering family friendly facilities. It’s not rocket science but the formula of offering a range of toys and activities for the children combined with freshly prepared food and quality coffee and cake really seem to have worked. We’ve got some fabulous regular customers who we look forward to seeing and there’s a lovely ‘family’ feel to the coffee shop which was absolutely the point of opening it.”

As well as the coffee shop itself, Wigwam has a role play area with costumes for dressing up, books, games and interactive fun to make sure the little ones are engaged.

There is a packed timetable of events and activities in the Green Room which have really taken off including French classes, baby massage and yoga, toddler music and dance groups, messy play, story time and sensory play for babies and even a film club on a Sunday.

Plus, a hairdresser comes every Friday to do children’s haircuts and there’s even mini beauty treatments for mums.

Sue added: “It is important for mums to look after themselves not just for their own health and wellbeing but in order to be able to do the best job in the world – being a mother – to the best of their abilities and we at Wigwam want to help parents achieve that.”

Wigwam has recently been involved in the Liverpool Learning Partnership’s maths initiative aimed at encouraging children and families to make maths part of everyday life.

Sue is also delighted to be working with Bambis, a support group for breastfeeding mums which provides invaluable help and advice to new mums throughout Liverpool.

“This is what Wigwam is all about – providing sanctuary to parents, Just getting out of the house can be an achievement in itself when you have children so what better incentive than coming to Wigwam for coffee and cake, knowing the children are having fun too?”

Sue reflected: “Looking back over the last year we’ve come a long way. If you think about the derelict building we got the keys for and look at what a busy (and noisy!) coffee shop it is now, then it makes you realise what a lot we’ve achieved. But it’s definitely a work in progress and we’re always looking at ways to improve our services for families.”

Follow Wigwam on Facebook and Twitter @wigwamcoffee