A CAFÉ and deli owner who was due to open as lockdown began has spoken of a frustrating four months.

Ibrahim Desai launched Ibi’s Café and Deli after taking voluntary redundancy. He used his redundancy money from RPC Containers where he had worked for 25 years to set up the café and deli shop on Eanam, Blackburn.

“It has been a frustrating and difficult time but I am determined to see this through,” said Mr Desai.

“We were meant to open just two days after lockdown was announced so like everyone else had to put everything on hold. I finally opened in June.  I took voluntary redundancy in February and decided to use the money to renovate this shop. Since then it has not been easy going.

“I spent a lot of money here and it’s just unfortunate what happened. I am hoping that in the coming months things do pick up.”

The café serves a range of street foods and is open from 8.30am.

Mr Desai said: “We offer a wide variety of foods and people can get both an English and Asian style breakfast.  I wanted to do something different and the menu is a real mix between traditional English foods and Asian foods.”

Mr Desai he does not qualify for a grant as he only set up recently.

He said: “A grant would have helped but the rules state I am not eligible. So I suppose we have to get on with things and hope for the best.  If it was not for my family and friends who have volunteered their services I would not have been able to continue.

"I cannot afford to pay wages. I would like to thank them for their support during this time. I know it is tough for food businesses out there and I realise we are all going through the same thing.”

“People can order via WhatsApp and then pick up their food which has helped a but it is still early days and hopefully as word gets round things will pick up.”