At the Burnley Bistro, where local community and high-quality food come first


A bistro in Burnley reinvests its profits into the local community, with drinkers and diners supporting schools, programs and general welfare.

197 Bistro and Bar is part of a non-profit registered charity and part of the wider group, Burnley Leisure and Culture. It is located opposite the Towneley Golf Club and is renowned in the area for its high quality cuisine and atmosphere.

However, what some diners may not know is that profits made by the bistro go directly to supporting the local community. This means that projects such as cardiac and stroke rehab, swimming lessons for children and health, fitness and wellness programs at Burnley schools are supported by meals and drinks.

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Mark Dempsey is the Cultural and Hospitality Director of Burnley Leisure and Culture, he said: “197 Bistro is one of our four locations at Burnley Leisure and Culture.

“Having this model allows us to do more charitable things in the borough because all the money earned by the Bistro is put into a pot. It is then used for all kinds in the region, including rehabilitation classes and swimming lessons for children and families who cannot afford it.”

The non-profit restaurant is renowned in the region for its high quality food and atmosphere

Other businesses in the area that the Bistro helps fund include health and wellness programs and providing schools with instruction in nutrition and how to prepare healthy, cost-effective meals. Mark added: “I’ve been in the business for 11 years and in 2010 it was all part of the board but finally in 2014 the leisure was created.

“It meant we could get away from the local authority and the charitable trust. At the time, there wasn’t much hospitality in the area, but we developed and grew.

“Now it’s a multi-million pound side of the business and generates vital revenue streams. We need money for programs and to refurbish facilities and keep facilities equipment up to date, all is reinvested in the community.”

197 Bistro and Bar is run by couple Dan and Natalie, who began their journey as they searched for a new venue to develop their craft. Having had two young children, they were looking for the closest venue possible and arrived at Towneley Golf Club.

The Bistro has had its breakfast rated among the best in Lancashire and is consistently well rated on TripAdvisor. The restaurant is also renowned for its Sunday lunch, with a choice of a two- and three-course menu.

Some of the food served at the Bistro
Some of the food served at the Bistro

The Bistro is operated in partnership with Burnley Leisure, which was established in 2014, is a registered charity employing a team of over 100 fully qualified staff. It works in tandem with Burnley Council and is responsible for the operation, management and development of sports and leisure facilities, a theatre, arts development, health and welfare, and development of sport and play.


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