'It's sad I'm closing. The Government should take care of small businesses'
ONE of East Yorkshire's most exclusive five-star venues is closing its doors.
Walkington's hidden gem, the Barn House, has been a renowned spot for weddings, functions and luxury spa retreats for the past seven years.
But now, as it prepares to end its era on the venue scene, owner Niki Clappison believes the Government needs to do more to help small businesses succeed.
Originally a small farm, consisting of a farm house, a barn, a pigeon loft and a cow shed, the property was transformed into a home-from-home residence by the Clappison family in 2002.
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As the businesswoman gets set to embark on a new adventure, she is now calling on the Government to play a bigger part in helping small businesses have a chance to thrive.
Ms Clappison said: "About 84 per cent of the economy comes from small and medium-sized enterprises.
"There's an anger inside me, as I don't think the Government is taking care of small businesses."
Ms Clappison said that after doing her research, lots of things started to conspire, such as tax and insurance cost rises, and running a successful, profitable enterprise became more and more difficult.
Ms Clappison said: "It's so sad I am closing. I looked at putting a restaurant in but we just don't have the parking.
"I was in a real dilemma about it as the staff are just brilliant and I really believe East Yorkshire needs lovely venues like this."
Ms Clappison, who is also trained in holistic therapies, said she thinks there should be more opportunity for work experience, as a way for businesses such as the Barn House, to gain an extra pair of hands while giving the individual training and experience to help them be more employable.
Ms Clappison said that if people could go into businesses to learn skills, that could really help smaller businesses stay healthy.
She said: "I think there is a lot to learn from working in hospitality. It is a life experience.
"It was a really hard decision for me. I am really sad but I do think the Government should be doing something to help the small businesses. Who is taking care of them?"
In an effort to make sure her staff do not suffer from her decision, Ms Clappison is helping them gain the skills to launch their own business if they want to, before she closes the venue in March.
Ms Clappison said: "I have a friend who has his own business and if staff are interested in setting up a company, he will mentor them."
Ms Clappison said she has also investigated other choices that could be available for her team.
As she prepares for her next move in life, Ms Clappison said she will be keeping a foot in helping the Unsigned Live initiative – a chance for local musicians to showcase their talent – and at the end of April, the Barn House will be auctioning off items.
Ms Clappison said: "I love the Barn House. It has been an amazing experience and given a lot of pleasure to people who have been through our doors.
"In some point in the future, I think I will probably have a business again, but for now, I am buying a road bike and planning on spending the summer cycling and having a bit of time to myself."