A FAMILY-RUN independent business in York is celebrating after becoming the first Makaton-friendly cafe in North Yorkshire.

The Yorkshire Barn at Murton Park is also marking its second anniversary with a 'menu' of community focused events, including weekly lunches for seniors and signed story and song sessions for pre-schoolers.

The café is delighted to have just been awarded 'Makaton Friendly' status, achieving Bronze Accreditation and becoming the first cafe in North Yorkshire to do so.


Read our review of The Yorkshire Barn at Murton by clicking here


Yorkshire Barn chef and owner Jonathan Brown said: "Creating a family atmosphere at The Yorkshire Barn is important to us - we are a family business and have three generations working together in the cafe. We want to be as inclusive and welcoming as possible, which is why we have undertaken training in Makaton.

"My wife, Fiona, began using Makaton at Murton Park as Mother Christmas and received some lovely feedback, so we know how important Makaton can be.

"Our staff have received Makaton training from amazing Makaton Tutor, Jo Bryenton, and are really excited about using the various signs to welcome and serve our customers. We also have a Makaton noticeboard featuring a food related sign of the week which we hope families will learn to sign with us.”

York Press: Staff are using Makaton signs at The Yorkshire Barn cafe at MurtonStaff are using Makaton signs at The Yorkshire Barn cafe at Murton

Jo Bryenton explained: “Makaton is a communication system which uses signs made with your hands, simple symbols and speech to help people communicate. The signs used in Makaton come from British Sign Language (BSL) which is the language of the deaf community in the UK. Makaton differs from BSL in that we use signs and symbols, with speech in the same word order, to help hearing people who have communication difficulties. One is not ‘better’ than the other, they are just different ways in which we can support people who may not have speech as their primary means of communication."

She added: "It has been a pleasure to work with Jonathan, Fiona and the whole team at The Yorkshire Barn as they embrace using Makaton and become the first Makaton Friendly café in North Yorkshire.

"I have trained staff to use signs when greeting customers and to help with ordering. We are also developing an easy read menu which we hope will help those with communication difficulties choose from the delicious selection of food and drinks.”

Jonathan added “Our staff are already practicing Makaton Christmas signs. We definitely want to be on Santa's good list!”

And they are going the right way about it with a number of community-focused get-togethers happening over the next few months.

In addition to the Murton Park Santa Special Weekends, this year offers an opportunity to have tea and a private audience with Santa. Yorkshire Barn Café is also becoming the home to many networking groups starting in the area, including a Menopause support group led by Renni Prelle and the York branch of the Ladies Who Latte network group.

The Yorkshire Barn, which is open to the public as well as park visitors, serves family friendly food featuring the best of local produce, as well as their signature sausage rolls, brownies and famous Coofins, part cookie/part muffin.