Greenlight Gateway Garden Centre celebrates second birthday

WHO knows which bright spark once commented, ‘Birthdays are good for you. Statistics show that people who have the most, live the longest’ ?

Although Greenlight Gateway has had a few birthdays to celebrate since being founded as a charity and company in 2007, this April 27th marks only the second Birthday of their remarkable Garden Centre.

It seems like an age ago that having developed from the humble corner of Moyle Enterprise Centre with a polytunnel they opened the first phase of Space 2 Grow. Within months they successfully secured funding in The People’s Millions in 2011. That £60,000 coupled with the drive and energy of all the trainees, volunteers and staff have transformed the unused site on Leyland Road into a colourful and vibrant Garden Centre and Community Space with allotments, a fresh air gym, and a now thriving Country Kitchen.

At the heart of Greenlight Gateway is the drive to provide real and meaningful work and development opportunities for adults with learning disabilities and new opportunities for the many children and young people who are part of their newly funded Gap and Children in Need projects.

The second Birthday on Saturday 27th of course marks this thriving social enterprise which is now also providing a landscaping and garden tidy up services for all budgets.

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.

“Now is the time to bring your own containers, hanging baskets etc. to be filled and collected at the end of May, full of Summer colour,” Lorraine McCook, the Garden Centre Manager reminds us.

Greenlight Gateway’s Country Kitchen is always open, and providing a new and valuable training opportunity for adults with learning disabilities as well as a social enterprise and space for meeting over a fresh cuppa, home-baked treat or main meal and salad with freshly grown ingredients from our allotments. There is an ever changing range of specials available and no two visits will be the same, so join them for a cuppa, and while we know you will come for the prices, they hope you will come back for the freshness and great value.

Ann McIlroy, the Director of Greenlight Gateway said: “I am delighted to welcome just in time for the Summer months Adele Elder as Chef Trainer and Dominic Quinn as Assistant Cook who bring with them a vast range of skills and experience. They are wonderful cooks and talented bakers. We are already feeling the effects in the waistlines with the new range of pastries and baked goods and we are looking forward to sharing the great recipes and food with many more visitors in the coming months.

“We can now offer a one stop shop for your next party, family gathering or event. For christenings, First Communions, birthdays, anniversaries and funerals, all family and community events; They can offer catering at the Country Kitchen for 6-60 people and outside catering for as many as you require; for any menu, dishes or desserts you desire. Leave it to Greenlight to bake your cake, organise any entertainment, from balloons to bouncy castle and musical beats, filling the party bags and setting the scene, they can provide a unique and beautiful place for children to play and learn and for adults to gather and relax.”

So, all roads lead to Greenlight Gateway on the Leyland Road in Ballycastle on Saturday, April 27th. Between 12 midday and 3pm there will be balloon modelling, magic shows, baking and plant demonstrations as well as a chance to view Greenlight’s new recycled Greenhouse and allotments. There will be fun, food and more than a few surprises through the day. Even if you cannot get there for the party day there will be special family fun, offers and surprises right through May.

As Joe Quinn, one of the familiar faces of Greenlight says, “I love working at Greenlight Gateway.” Joe also loves to party and no doubt he and all the members and trainees will be in the middle of the festivities and fun. They all hope to see you there too…!