FIVE youngsters have found work after a York gift shop and café diversified into the real ale industry.

For the last five years Sue Woodward has ran a gift shop and café in Shambles, serving teas and coffees and selling trinkets to tourists.

In move aimed at making the business more sustainable Ms Woodward has developed Ye Old Shambles Tavern, serving and selling real ale alongside the previous offering.

To accommodate the business expansion, five new members of staff have been added to the family team.

Recruited through the Job Centre Plus on Stonebow, the new employees, all aged between 19 and 25, are learning new skills on the job, with three of the five young people participating in the 21st Century Retail And Tourism Ambassador pilot programme.

Ms Woodward said: “We felt that recently the experience of shopping in York was becoming just as important as the product we were looking to sell.

“We needed to offer more of a customer experience, and as we wanted to continue our ethos of using locally sourced products, we decided to go down the real ale concept.

“Alongside diversifying our product range, we are offering the services of a traditional real ale tavern well into the evening.

“For this we have the council to thank, as they were very helpful throughout the process of us applying for our late licence.

“Now we can expand our hours, and as a result have expanded our team of staff. “When it came to doing that I went to the Job Centre to ask if they could help expand our family team.

“Thankfully our new staff are settling in well, and hopefully the training we are giving them will be able to increase their confidence and skill sets for any future career opportunities.”

Yesterday the Civic Party was on hand to officially open the new venture, which features its very own beer, Shambles Stumbler.

The Lord Mayor of York, Coun Julie Gunnell, said: “This is exactly the sort of activity we need to encourage within the York business community.

“Not only is Sue and her team benefitting the city from a tourism angle by offering a new and improved service to visitors, she is also investing in young people from York and giving them an opportunity to develop skills and competencies that will be useful throughout their careers.

“This is a great example of social responsibility that will hopefully encourage other businesses to do the same.”

Through teaming up with Yorkshire Ales, the tavern stocks 60 bottled beer varieties from 16 local micro-breweries, with Rudgate Brewery installing the first beer pumps in the shop.