A NEW licensed cafe, selling beer, cakes and other snacks, made a welcome arrival in Old Town yesterday.

Cakes and Ale, based in the unit of a former furniture shop, in Devizes Road, is an unusual concept in that it sells beer and wine, but also tea, coffee, cakes, breakfast, lunch and supper.

The venture is the brainchild of married couple David and Marya Marriott, of Wroughton, who decided to start the business after leaving their jobs as a council officer at Wiltshire Council and Oxfordshire County Council respectively.

David, 61, said: “We have done a lot of travelling in our lives, particularly around Europe, and virtually every city has a place like this. But they’re harder to find in this country, especially in Swindon.”

He added: “There’s a lot of women out there who are looking for somewhere safe and calm where they can relax and have a drink with their meal with their friends without it being a drinking bar, or with loud music.”

Marya, 49, said the venue was not just a cafe but the sort of place, for example, where you could take family or friends on a Sunday afternoon and order quality hot food from a brunch menu.

Cakes and Ale aims to offer a balance between traditional and modern food from Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. The cafe is open for breakfast, elevenses, lunch, high tea and supper.

David said: “We’re trying to sell as much real ale as we can at the moment. It’s real ale in a bottle.”

The cafe has taken on about 15 staff, including four previously-unemployed people from the charity TCV (The Conservation Volunteers), who are working in a number of kitchen and front of house roles.

Tanita Hickey, 24, of Park North, who is now a waitress, was signed up to TCV’s work programme through Jobcentre Plus.

She said: “It’s fantastic. I have been out of work for just over a year and a great job opportunity cropped up and here I am. I have had experience before in waitressing, not a lot of experience.”

Saheed Abdul, the employer engagement specialist for TCV, said: “TCV employment and training services are delighted to have had the pleasure of helping Cakes and Ale with recruitment for these vacancies.

“We would like to wish David and Marya and all of their employees the every success.”

Employers in Swindon, Gloucester or Bristol with vacancies to fill can contact the employer engagement team on 01793 640 255 or 01242 222 083.

Cakes and Ale is open from Monday to Thursday between 8am and 10pm, from Friday to Saturday between 8am and midnight, and on Sunday between 10am and 4pm.