Life Saver in the Park

park life cross the top

It finally happened. The heat has returned to the valley for the first time this year. The pavements of the town were swarming. You head to your usual cafe, boy in hand and baby in the buggy, and you realise there’s no chance of getting a caffeine fix.

Or at least that was how it was until a year ago. The parents of many a child breathed easier on their day-long stints in Calder Park when Park Life Café opened their doors in March 2012.

You know how it is with kids, you pack a standard day outing covering every eventuality; poo, sick, pee, mud. Changes of clothes for everyone. Snacks for the whole day. Waterproofs for the down pours. Factor blanket for the sunshine.

You get to the park without any serious life-threatening mishaps (even on five hours of sleep) and you think all is well. Except you can’t string a sentence together and are desperate for a cuppa to help you feel normal again. That’s where the café-in-the-Calder-Holmes-Park steps in.

A shining beacon offering huge plates of chips and homemade cakes too – it’s got to be said it is a fabulous place in the sunshine. The old bowling green in front of it is the ideal spot on which children can run around safely in view. And the outdoor seats are the best place in Hebden for a breakfast.

park life cafe

Kim Blackburn and Charlie Carr are qualified youth and community development workers and spotted an opportunity to provide a spot near to the skate park that would encourage young people to use. They have regular dog walkers and other customers who they call “Park People”.

They are part of Friends of the Park committee and have been involved with the Fair for Youth and say they are always keen to work with whatever is going on in the town.

They had a celebration after making it to a year of business recently and are happy to see the warmer weather return. “In Hebden we had seen the coldest summer last year and the wettest March this year (not to mention the floods) so it has not perhaps been the best year for a new business but we feel lucky we have made it through.

“This spring and summer season we have decided to be flexible about opening hours and stay open later in the summer if there are people out and about enjoying the lighter nights.”

charlie carr park life

So if the kids are in tow you’ll be made very welcome (always a relief) and if you are interested in a quiet drink on your own there’s a nice selection of art books and a subscription to National Geographic to enjoy.