Boat Yard in running for award

Mandy Given, Jenny Hanson and Alison O'Hara of The Boat Yard Coffee Shop at the Loughan Coleraine. INCR8-323PL
Mandy Given, Jenny Hanson and Alison O'Hara of The Boat Yard Coffee Shop at the Loughan Coleraine. INCR8-323PL

A family run business on the outskirts of Coleraine has been shortlisted for a Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors Award.

The Boat Yard Cafe located at the Loughan is the only business in County Londonderry to be shortlisted in the prestigious RICS Awards that showcase the most inspirational regional in the initiatives and developments in land, property, construction and the built environment.

The quaint cafe situated in a listed stone building, is located next to Hanna Boats on the banks of the River Bann.

It has been shortlisted in the ‘tourism and leisure’ category, alongside some top attractions including the Mary Peters track in Belfast, the Visit Belfast Welcome Centre and Aurora Aquatic and Leisure Complex.

The nomination came from Alan Patterson Design, who have carried out work on the building.

Speaking about the nomination business partner, David Mahon told The Times that they were ‘thrilled’ to recieve the nomination.

This little warm and welcoming cafe is located on the former Belfast to Londonderry Stage Coach Halt in a stone building, that is grade two listed.

What makes it most attractive is its location - sitting peacefully on the banks of the River.

David explained: “Many people have praised us for ‘injecting life’ into the River Bann.

“We offer something different.

“We founded the cafe back in 2012, and our aim is to deliver an innovative and progressive menu with locally sourced produce.

“We have had visitors from across the world, we know that we offer something different to the local area.

“Our neighbours here, Hanna Boats, sell and store boats, it’s all about rural diversification.”

A spokesperson from Alan Patterson Design added: “The Boatyard shows how a visionary, independently funded micro-initiative can be a great success story.

“Not only is this a brave venture in terms of being a first-time business in an established, competitive market, alongside the challenges of converting an historic listed building but it is providing accessibility to a new community to the River Bann. When these components come together, the potential for one enterprise to act as a catalyst for regeneration is significant. The sustained success of The Boatyard, through the quality of produce and its welcoming environment is creating is a new destination point. Even small scale businesses contribute to Northern Ireland’s tourism industry and that is why the project has been submitted into the 2014 RICS awards. The inclusion of The Boatyard on the shortlist is great news for all.”

DUP MLA Adrian McQuillan has also commended the local business: “David, Lorna, Alison and the team have done a wonderful job at the cafe. They should be proud of their business and proud of their nomination.

“They are the only business in the area to be nominated and wish them every success.”