Fast food is wind beneath my wings
Cafe queen Margaret sets her sights on Olympics glory
A talented young Wishaw catering student is giving a new meaning to “fast food” after being picked to compete in the 2019 Special Olympics.
For the past year Margaret Newall has been working in Windmills – Motherwell’s cafe with a conscience.
But her talent for track racing will see her swapping her oven gloves for running shoes when the games hit Abu Dhabi next year.
Former Fir Park School pupil Margaret is one of 18 trainees, all of whom have a learning disability, currently working in the cafe in Brandon Parade East.
The 20-year-old, from Dimsdale, is working in the cafe’s kitchen and front of house while also studying independent living skills, catering, hospitality, food hygiene and elementary cooking – and will soon move on to SVQs.
Star baker Margaret, who is making a name for herself as North Lanarkshire’s own Mary Berry, combines her love of baking with her other big passion of racing.
Her record speeds have earned her a place in the Special Olympics in the UAE capital in March next year, when she will compete in the 1500m and 800m events in the Summer Games – a multi-sport event for athletes with intellectual disabilities.
“It will be the hottest place on earth,” said bubbly student Margaret, who is a member of Law and District Amateur Athletic Club, trains at Wishaw Sports Centre every Tuesday and Thursday and races every weekend.
Windmills is a social enterprise cafe in the heart of Motherwell with a reputation for quality food and family-friendly customer service.
Windmills Lanarkshire is dedicated to playing its part in supporting young people with learning disabilities to build life and social skills, confidence, independence and ultimately employability.
“Margaret’s communication skills are definitely much better and she displays much more appropriate behaviour in an adult environment,” explained Windmills’ development manager, Joy Gillespie.
“Her skills are increasing all the time and she is much more independent. Margaret’s people skills have definitely improved and she’s believing in herself and being valued. She is enthusiastic and hard working.
“When customers hand over their cash at Windmills, they are paying for more than a cup of coffee. They are investing in young people’s lives,” explained Joy, who saw the fortunes of the organisation turn around in May last year after a cafe refurbishment.
When the Wishaw Press visited Windmills Cafe on Thursday, Margaret had just taken a batch of fluffy banana muffins from the oven.
Among her other specialities loved by Windmills’ loyal customers are her impressive scones and tray bakes.
For young people who have particularly complex additional support needs and may not be able to take up employment, volunteering at Windmills – which can be stimulating and rewarding – can be a positive option.
Just last week, the project, which works in partnership with North Lanarkshire Council and various other supporters, launched a new, informative DVD on its Facebook page, showcasing the tremendous achievements of some of its Lanarkshire trainees.
“We believe that young people like Margaret with learning disabilities deserve to live life to the full and we are working together for that bright future,” added Joy.
Kitchen queen Margaret Newall working at the Windmills Cafe