Established in 1998 by William and Stephanie Holmes, Moorbrook Lodge Trout Fishery in Castlerock has gone from strength to strength over the last 16 years. And, with a Venture Causeway investment of £10,000 awarded to the fishery in 2013, they’ve now expanded their offering to include a new coffee shop and increased their fishing stock supply.

When Stephanie pitched to the Venture Causeway champions, she hoped to receive some business mentoring support, as well as important financial investment. She subsequently gained four champions through the initiative, as well as the means to expand the business. Her champions included Dr Mark McKinney of ATG Group Coleraine, Norman Lynas of Lynas Food Service, John Armstrong of Armstrong Medical Ltd and Karen Yates of Zing Design and Print.

“I pitched to Venture Causeway for a coffee shop and to extend the fishery,” she says. With the backing and support of Venture Causeway secured, Moorbrook Lodge Trout Fishery was then able to create a new café, as well as six part-time jobs for the area. As well as boosting employment locally, the investment also added a new dimension to the business and offered something new for customers to enjoy.

“We had a building available on site that used to be a shop but had always dreamt of turning this into a café to attract more visitors and provide added value to those people fishing at Moorbrook. The funding helped us make it a reality and get the café up and running,” says Stephanie. “We now have five girls working part-time in the summer and one at the weekends throughout the year.”

“Mark McKinney in particular was very good,” she adds. “He came out and gave me some great business advice and support, and brought out groups of people to fish.

“We already offered fly-fishing and wanted to invest in stocking a coarse lake, with bigger fish – with the help of Venture Causeway we did just that!”