LOCAL politicians have heaped praise on the team behind the "fabulous" Doon the Beach community cafe in Stevenston.

The project is the brainchild of Elizabeth and Margaret Sweeney, who first dreamt up the idea over half a decade ago.

And the 'Stevenston beach hub' officially opened to the public on Monday, February 20, following a launch event for invited guests on Saturday, February 18.

The cafe now operates from 9am until 5pm everyday and is intended to be ideal for those out for a walk along our stunning coast line - with toilet facilities that all can use, and hot and cold food and drinks to be available.

While you will be able to bring your furry friends along - with the cafe being dog friendly.

Inclusivity has been a major part of the process, with the hub designed to be completely accessible for all.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: One of the volunteers behind the project, Margaret Sweeney.One of the volunteers behind the project, Margaret Sweeney. (Image: Charlie Gilmour Photography)

And this extends to dietry requirements - with a menu produced to be completely allergin friendly.

There is also an outside area to the cafe - which is perfectly positioned next to the swing park so parents can enjoy a bite to eat and a drink while their children make use of the neighbouring amenity.

Local politicians who attended the hub's launch have hailed the facility and what it will provide the people of Stevenston and the rest of the Three Towns.

MP for North Ayrshire and Arran, Patricia Gibson, commented: “Doon the Beach is a great boost for the shore front and the whole town and I was delighted to attend the launch event last weekend.

“This project was the brainchild of Elizabeth and Margaret Sweeney and I recall meeting them in my Ardrossan office several years ago, when their vision was jotted down on paper. 

"Their drive and determination has delivered this facility and I know it has been a labour of love for them, supported by North Ayrshire Council and Scottish Government funding.

“This will be an inclusive and welcoming facility for all residents in the town and further afield.

“This new amenity has created a real buzz in Stevenston and I am sure the new hub will be a real draw.”

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: Some of the staff and volunteers behind the project showing their delight that the community cafe is now open, alongside North Ayrshire Council provost Anthea Dickson.Some of the staff and volunteers behind the project showing their delight that the community cafe is now open, alongside North Ayrshire Council provost Anthea Dickson. (Image: Charlie Gilmour Photography)

MSP for Cunninghame South, Ruth Maguire, added: “It was a real pleasure to join Raise Your Voice Ardeer at the opening of the “Doon the Beach” Community café and hub. 

"The group led by Elizabeth and Margaret have worked so hard over a number of years, to see the final result was wonderful. 

"The hub not only provides jobs and a great facility for the community but I’m sure will encourage visitors to visit the beach area – good news for everyone!”

A total of five jobs have been created by the new hub, and a number of councillors for the Saltcoats and Stevenston ward have also commended the team behind the community cafe and what it will bring to their constituents.

Cllr Cameron Inglis said: "I would just like to say that I believe the beach hub will be a key development for Stevenston and the future of the beach.

"It will also be a great community hub for residents and community groups to meet.

"I would like to wish Elizabeth, Margaret and all the team the very best going forward."

Cllr Jean McClung added: “It was an honour to be invited to the the official opening of Stevenston’s new Beach Hut and Cafe.

"The effort that went into the opening event reflects the perseverance and hard work that has gone into this project over the last six years and I am full of admiration for the members of the community involved.

"They have weathered the ups and downs of the process, faced setbacks and frustrations over the period, but come out the other end having achieved a new community resource of which they should be proud! 

"My personal thanks to all the trustees and all NAC officers involved.”

And fellow SNP councillor, Davina McTiernan, commented: "The opening marks the culmination of some very hard work by a lot of local people, including mother and daughter duo Elizabeth and Margaret Sweeney, and the late and much-missed Shirley Morgan.

"I am particularly pleased that the hub will be a genuine community asset, with space available for local groups and clubs to rent for meetings.

"It is also intended that work-experience opportunities will be provided for pupils from the town's Lockhart Campus.

"I look forward to the 'Doon the Beach' hub serving the local community for many years, and offer my congratulations to everyone who worked so hard to make it happen."