A pioneering charity restaurant has been forced to close, blaming a lack of custom and rent increases.

But there is a ray of hope for Linthwaite-based Ruddi’s Coffee Shop and Bistro, as the charity hopes to open up in nearby premises within months.

The coffee shop closed its doors for the last time in late December after only nine months in business.

It was started up to raise money for good cause Ruddi’s Retreat, which offers seaside breaks to children battling serious illnesses or coping with bereavement.

However, it had been beleaguered by complaints and struggles to obtain licensing.

Owner and charity head, Ali Jones, who opened the Manchester Road site, said: “It’s been an absolutely horrendous time for all the people who have put so much into it.

“Basically, we just couldn’t afford the premises. We weren’t getting enough customers and the rent we were being asked to pay just kept going up and up - it was just unmanageable.

“When we first opened we were paying £1,000 in rent but this went up to £1,400 in October and was due to go up again this month.

Ruddi's Coffee Shop and Bistro opens in Linthwaite - Ruddi pictured with Eorl Crtabtree (left) and Leroy Cudjoe of Huddersfield Giants.
Ruddi's Coffee Shop and Bistro opens in Linthwaite - Ruddi pictured with Eorl Crtabtree (left) and Leroy Cudjoe of Huddersfield Giants.
 

“The owner was also due to sell the building so my hand was forced.”

Nine staff, including Ali’s own daughter, have lost jobs at the bistro, which during the time it was open raised thousands of pounds for the charity.

It was created after Ali’s son, cancer survivor Ruddi, contracted a rare form of cancer on his bladder and prostate .

Ruddi's Coffee Shop and Bistro on Manchester Road, Linthwaite, which is closed and the building up to let.
 

But there is a silver lining for the charity, which plans to takeover the former Spring hairdressers opposite the Horse and Coaches pub just up the road.

Ali said: “We’re really pleased to say we’ve found and begun to lease a new space, which is not only bigger than the old site but which we are also renting at a reduced rate.

“We’ve got a three year agreement on it and are going to open up a deli, old fashioned sweet shop and cafe there.

“It’s not going to be licensed as we’ve been left with such a sour taste in our mouths after licensing issues with the council last year.

“The charity is so important to me I don’t want to get involved in such a distressing process again.

“On top of that, we won’t be affecting any residential properties, will have our own car park and will only be taking on two paid staff and the rest will be volunteers, to help manage costs.

“It’s just a fantastic new start for us and comes just ahead of Ruddi’s next hospital visit, in which we expect him to be given the all clear.

“I’d just like to thank everyone that has supported us so far and hope that that can continue this year.”

Ruddi’s Retreat will be hosting fundraisers over the next few months and hopes to open the site in spring or early summer.