Horsebox coffee shop gallops to victory

The Playtrail’s new ‘Tea in the Park’ initiative has been announced as a joint winner of this year’s £2k Social Enterprise Competition run by Derry City & Strabane District Council as part of Enterprise Week 2019.

£2,000 from the Council’s ‘Social Enterprise Innovation Seed Fund’ was up for grabs as budding social entrepreneurs from throughout the City & District pitched their creative ideas for innovative projects they want to see get off the ground.

Following the Social Enterprise Competition, £1k has now been awarded to ‘Tea in the Park’ and the ‘Strabane Community Project’ to help both groups set up a shop / kitchen and training facilities.

The Playtrail’s £1k prize will go towards retrofitting a traditional ‘Horsebox’ with tea & coffee-making facilities which will provide customer service training for a group of 15-20 young people with disabilities who will serve refreshments to visitors at the Pennyburn site.

Jennie Marshall from the Liberty Consortium, which delivers programmes for young people with disabilities at The Playtrail, said:  

“We’re delighted to have been awarded £1k from the ‘Social Enterprise Innovation Seed Fund’ which will make such a huge impact in terms of us being able to take this exciting project forward.

“Much of the work on the retrofitted ‘Horsebox’ will be carried out by young people with disabilities themselves in partnership with our Fab: Social Project. This will involve using laser cutters, vinyl cutters and 3D printers!

“This initiative will also provide up to 15-20 young people with the necessary training in customer service, Barista training and cash handling whilst providing a weekly work placement / volunteering opportunity. 

“The project will also address a gap in terms of us not currently having a shop available on The Playtrail site. Indeed, the new ‘Horsebox’ will ensure families will be able to avail of refreshments and enjoy a full day of outdoor play and activities.

“The ‘Tea in the Park’ initiative also aims to address the limited education and training programmes that are currently available for young people with disabilities.  Indeed, it will be great to see the project providing them with the opportunities to build their life skills – not only in terms of developing confidence and increasing their independence, but also helping them become more active members of society!”

Danielle McNally, Business Officer with Derry City & Strabane District Council and a member of the four-strong panel who judged the £2k Social Enterprise competition, said: “I was delighted to judge this year’s pitching competition and hear from the many groups and social entrepreneurs from across the Council area who are interested in developing their new project idea.

“Importantly, the ‘Social Enterprise Innovation Seed Fund’ is about rewarding and encouraging creativity, talent and innovative ideas within social enterprise.

“As part of this year’s prize package both ‘The Playtrail’ and ‘Strabane Community Project’ will not only secure £1k in financial support, but can also avail of business support services from the Council which will help them grow.

“Indeed, it’s great to see funding for the new ‘Tea in the Park’ initiative will not only help young people with disabilities gain meaningful work experience – but will also increase The Playtrail’s offering by providing refreshments to thousands of families who visit their wonderful facilities every year!”

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