MP Drops In For Tea And Buns At The Garden Café In Downpatrick

Fancy a cuppa? Or a bite to eat in Downpatrick?

The Garden Café at the St Patrick’s Centre in Downpatrick welcomed Margaret Ritchie MP for South Down for tea at the newly opened social enterprise.

The café is run by Stepping Stones NI which was established in 1996 to provide adults with learning difficulties and disabilities with the opportunity to access accredited training towards to help gain employment.

[caption id="attachment_59053" align="aligncenter" width="540"]Chef Patrick Ferris with Margaret Ritchie MP and two of the staff at the recently opened Garden CafŽ upstairs in the St Patrick Centre in Downpatrick. Chef Patrick Ferris with Margaret Ritchie MP and two of the staff at the recently opened Garden CafŽ upstairs in the St Patrick Centre in Downpatrick.[/caption]

The café is a non-profitmaking organisation and reinvests all its profits back in to supporting adults with a learning disability in Downpatrick. Over a cuppa and a few tasty buns, Ciara Brennan, Marketing and Business Development Manager, unveiled the café’s new look corporate identity and branding to Ms Ritchie.

Serving breakfast, lunch and afternoon teas the new café boasts a stunning garden terrace, children’s play area and a spacious environment. Managed by Stepping Stones NI, an award winning charitable organisation with sixteen years’ experience of running social enterprises, the new café will provide on-site training and supported employment opportunities for adults with a learning disability.

Margaret Ritchie said: “I am delighted to support the new social enterprise upstairs in the St PAtrick Centre. The Garden Café is a hidden gem in Downpatrick offering local people the finest quality food and drinks matched with exceptional service and I would strongly encourage local people to visit the Garden Café and make a positive impact through their custom”.

Local chef Patrick Ferris who has over twenty years of experience from cooking around the world has created a new menu with a range of delicious specialties.

Stepping Stones NI Chief Executive Officer Paula Jennings has a clear vision of what she wants to create at the Garden Café and said: “From the outset we have intended to create the highest quality food and service for people in Downpatrick and we have recruited talented locals to achieve this and support our trainees in the process. The Garden Café will hold an official launch event in October with special promotions for locals to enjoy.:

(Stepping Stones NI is a company comprised of local business people and parents and carers of people with learning difficulties /disabilities.)