A MUM-of-five has taken herself off the dole to become an entrepreneur for the first time.
And as she reflected on her first three months of trading, Julie Carney, 46, said: “I am loving every minute of it.”
Hartlepool woman Julie had been unemployed for five months before taking over The Lunchbox, based in Gainford Street in the town.
The former care home worker said: “It is the first business I have had and it is lovely to actually come off the dole. It’s quiet at the moment but I am keeping myself in work and I am enjoying it.”
The business had formerly been run by Jill McPartlin who, said Julie, she knew through a friend.
“She was wanting to retire so she passed the shop over to me. I met her through a friend about three months ago and she said she was thinking of selling.”
Julie’s catering firm has a local clientele who enjoy everything from mince and dumplings to lasagne and full English breakfast available all day.
Julie, who is married to Cameron, 40, is mum to five children - IT manager Christopher, 26, Matthew, 24, who works in search and rescue, Daniel, 22, a shift manager at Lloyds Bar, and students Charlotte, 19, and Jonathan, 17.
Julie currently runs the shop with the help of Alyson Brown on work experience and Trish Gowler who provides a couple of hours a week in support.
She also spoke of her hopes for the future and said: “I want to make the business bigger and better.”