Fast food is wind be­neath my wings

Cafe queen Mar­garet sets her sights on Olympics glory

Wishaw Press - - FRONT PAGE -

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

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