AFTER weeks of snow, hail and rain, the sun shone on the North Antrim Coast and on the second birthday celebrations of Greenlight Gateway in Ballycastle.
The second birthday marked the rapid growth and development of this thriving social enterprise - and wonderful Garden Centre in particular - and celebrated the vision and the hard work of the many volunteers, young people and adults who have been a part of the amazing transformation of this unused land.
It was a special treat that Lil’ Magic was there performing brilliant tricks and illusions for the many families and children who had come along. As David, who also balloon modelled some amazing creations himself, said: “This is an amazing place and such a welcoming and open place for the adults and young people with learning disabilities who are at the heart of it. There is nothing like it in Belfast and the people of North Antrim should be so proud of all that has been achieved.”
Lorraine McCook, Manager of the Garden Centre, was on hand through the day to give expert advice. She even found time to host a demonstration on planting and filling hanging baskets which had a great response from the many who attended.
Adele Elder, Greenlight’s new Chef Trainer, also ran a really terrific and tasty baking demonstration and made some wonderful sodas, some filled with a variety of savoury surprises. She was the most popular person at the Garden Centre as she shared the tasty nibbles and samples of the new freshly baked loaves, breads and tray-bakes that were on sale.
Lorraine is quick to remind us that we can visit them anytime to see a wonderful stock of plants, trees and shrubs as well as beautiful pots and containers. With a team of experienced and friendly staff they can advise on all your gardening matters and also fill baskets, planters and containers freshly made to order. All the beautiful plants are grown from seeds and plugs planted by the young trainees and this alone makes them very special.
Ann McIlroy of Greenlight Gateway added: “Celebration days like this are very important to us. We are a community organisation and social business so we are always delighted to welcome all the community here. We really depend on the support of local families and individuals and it is so important for our young adults and trainees to be able work with and for the wider public. It is special for us to see the sense of pride and achievement that each individual has in what they do here at Greenlight. It does make all the hard work worthwhile.”
There will be fun, food and more than a few surprises through the month of May with special family fun each Sunday from 12-3pm, with Scallywaggs Puppets, Little Stars and Harpur’s Hill Steel Band. The Country Kitchen will be serving a range of fresh meals, snacks and taking bookings for parties and events right through the Summer and you can contact Greenlight on 02820761110 or find them on Facebook.