FAMILY SPACE: Gilly's Place owners Andrew and Renee Gillane with daughter Bethan. Despite the sad news of the cafe closing, Ms Gillane is proud of the influence the business has had with the special needs and youth communities in Hervey Bay.
FAMILY SPACE: Gilly's Place owners Andrew and Renee Gillane with daughter Bethan. Despite the sad news of the cafe closing, Ms Gillane is proud of the influence the business has had with the special needs and youth communities in Hervey Bay. Alistair Brightman

We're proud of our efforts: Gilly's Place owners

IN THE face of being forced to close the doors on their beloved family cafe less than a year after opening, Renee Gillane still sees the silver lining of her impact on the Hervey Bay business community.

The co-owner of popular family cafe Gilly's Place, said she and husband Andrew were forced to pull the plug on the business last month, citing low numbers.

The retro-themed cafe, which opened on December 28 last year on Boat Harbour Dr, featured old school arcade games, pool tables and an all-you-can-eat buffet.

Ms Gillane said she was devastated to see the business close.

"We tried every effort, put in every cent and it just got to the stage where we had to call it a day,” Ms Gillane said.

"We were working seven days a week and when it starts to affect your health and well being, you've got to weigh up your options”.

Despite the move, Ms Gillane still sees the positive influence she's created with the special needs community in Hervey Bay.

Earlier this year, the cafe held regular "low-sensory” sessions for children with special needs and their families.

"One lady told me her special needs child said Gilly's Place was her favourite place in the world, and was one of the only places she could feel comfortable,” Ms Gillane said.

"That's the sad thing, in other places they said they felt really pressured, but here they were part of the family.”

Ms Gillane said she also felt other cafes and shopping malls in Hervey Bay had become more disability friendly because of their work, which she said helped "highlight” the needs of the special needs community.

"It makes me happy, a part of my goal was to give kids a safe space to hang out,” she said.

"Now there's more of an understanding from other businesses in town, and they know how to read and understand these situations because of our place.

"It's sad that we're closing, but we tried, and we're happy we gave it a go.”



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