SPOKES Kitchen, Corbridge won best new food business at the Tyne and Wear business awards.

The business was taken over in February 2020 by Kerrie Walsh and since then the business has become a firm favourite with the locals.

Kerrie Walsh said: "Our intention was to decorate the whole cafe so it was in a good place, we started the process and as we were going through it and making changes we thought we would open for a few weeks for feedback from our staff and customers.

"We managed one week then we were told by the Government to close our doors, which was good in a way as it allowed us to do everything else we needed to do."

On how Covid affected the business, Kerrie said: "It was very difficult, the biggest difficulty was the staff side, we took over the business that had been closed for four months with no staff.

"We did an immediate recruitment and go in touch with previous people who worked there, we were also unable to furlough them because they hadn't received a months wage from us before and we had to let the staff go.

"It was very difficult at the beginning."

Since opening Kerrie and the team has invested £30,000 in refitting the cafe, buying new equipment, tables, chairs and a new state of the art coffee machine.

Kerrie is looking to expand the business and add 3 or 4 cafes on popular cycle routes around the County.

On how much this award meant to Kerrie and the team, she said: I think the key was the recognition for the staff and the hard work they have put in, especially after Covid, you're always very unsure about how the business will work our and the staff have worked so hard.

"On the award night we decided that we would pay for the staff to attend with their partners, it was a celebration of themselves."

Kerrie and her husband Andrew are keen mountain bikers currently living in the Lake District, they're hoping that they will be able to purchase the flat above the shop so they can spend more time in the town.