Fiona dancing to her own tune as franchisee

Fiona Meleschko with her nine-month-old son Tadhg
Fiona Meleschko with her nine-month-old son Tadhg

A former teacher now dancing to her own tune as a fitness class franchisee has strictly no regrets over her “leap of faith”.

Fiona Meleschko worked as a director of primary phase at a school in Bradford but now runs the Calderdale franchise of Swing Sling, which offers dance and gentle movement classes for parents with their children in baby carriers.

There are classes across the borough, including at Copley Cricket Club, North Bridge Leisure Centre and the Salem Centre in Hebden Bridge.

Fiona, who lives in Shelf and is mum to nine-month-old son Tadhg and four-year-old daughter Áine, said: “I had quite a high profile job so it was a bit of a leap of faith.

“When my maternity leave was about to be up I thought I just couldn’t possibly go back to what I was doing.

“I was getting to work at 6am and not getting home until 8pm.

“So me and my husband decided now was as good a time as any.

“Business is completely new to me, arranging all these venues and classes.

“I’m only four or five weeks in so some venues are more popular than others.

“I’m currently spending more on venues than I’m getting in so I’m jigging things about.

“But I’m going to make it work - I’m not going back to my previous job.”

Fiona admits starting her own business has been daunting, but is encouraging other mums to consider following in her footsteps.

“When I made the decision you’re thinking ‘oh my god, where are the mortgage payments coming from?’.

“But you put in what you get out.

“It would be easy to say ‘I can’t do this’ and go back to some kind of supply teaching.

“But I consider myself very lucky to have had this opportunity and I’ve taken it with both hands.

“It is a scary thing to do but I would encourage other women in my position to pluck up the courage and go for it.

“There are so many opportunities out there - health and beauty franchises, well-being - so many options.”