Boonah café serving up opportunities

A social enterprise which empowers unemployed youth and people with a disability by teaching them hospitality skills is celebrating a milestone.

Community Café 11, which operates out of the Carinity Fassifern Community Centre in Boonah, turned two this month.

Carinity Fassifern Community Centre Community Development Coordinator Samantha Caves says participants are taught all aspects of running a café and cater for dinner functions several times a month.

“Working in the café has allowed them to learn a variety of soft skills within the hospitality industry which include customer service, time management, communication skills, problem solving, barista training, cookery, baking, money handling and food safety,” Samantha says. 

“The café also provides on-the-job training and opportunities for people with a disability to feel empowered as they achieve their own personal goals.”

Café workers, whose ages range from 15 to 44 years, have conditions such as cerebral palsy, autism, Down Syndrome, intellectual disabilities and complex mental health issues.

“Being part of an inclusive and supportive atmosphere at the café has fostered relationships with the greater community and broken down misconceptions about what people with disabilities can achieve if given the opportunity,” Samantha says.

Café workers recently commenced their biggest catering job to date – feeding 80 tradespeople working on the redevelopment of an aged care home in Boonah.

For the next year they will prepare and serve “smoko”, lunches and coffee to construction workers from a food van located on site.

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