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Coffee Cart Creates Awareness and Jobs for People With Disability

23 January 2017 at 8:34 am
Wendy Williams
A new social enterprise has been launched combining “superb coffee” with employment opportunities for people with disability.

Wendy Williams | 23 January 2017 at 8:34 am


Coffee Cart Creates Awareness and Jobs for People With Disability
23 January 2017 at 8:34 am

A new social enterprise has been launched combining “superb coffee” with employment opportunities for people with disability.

Multicap, a not-for-profit organisation supporting individuals with disability, has opened a second Monte Lupo Coffee Cart, in Capalaba Park in Queensland.

The initiative, run in partnership with one of Brisbane’s newest wholesale boutique coffee suppliers Grassroots Espresso, offers training and employment to people with disability to help prepare them for open employment.

Multicap general manager of social enterprise Fiona Haynes told Pro Bono News it was also about raising awareness as well as creating jobs.

“We’ve purchased three coffee carts to have in the community in locations that will raise awareness, about disability and also create employment for people with disability,” Haynes said.

“At the moment we have employed about six new people to be trained as baristas with the hope that they will then go on to open employment.”

Haynes said she expected the social impact to be “quite large”.

“It means these individuals won’t be in day program, so they’re actually employed, they are generating an income, which will then lessen the impact on the government because their pensions will be decreased because they are earning money, which also increase their value and self worth,” she said.

“Take Barbara [Shaw, a barista working at the new cart], now she has something to get up and go to every day because she has a job.

“And it means she will earn extra income and be less reliant on Centrelink to be able to survive, to pay her rent, to buy groceries and all those things that we take for granted on a daily basis.”

Barbara Shaw with coffeeShaw, who suffered multiple strokes at the age of 43 that left her legally blind, is the latest assisted employee to be trained as a barista by Monte Lupo and Grassroots Espresso.

She said she was still “getting used to life with a disability” seven years on, but that she was excited to be working.

“I am very excited to be in a workplace that has a positive impact and offers me some social interaction,” Shaw said.

“I was finding it hard to get motivated to get dressed in the morning but now I come to work, I socialise with people and I am learning new skills that I am capable of.

“I found having a disability very frustrating but now I see it has created new opportunities. I have met so many people at Multicap who genuinely want to make a difference to the lives of people with disability.

“I honestly feel like the world looks different now that I am employed. I tell people I was blind but now I can see.”

Haynes said they want people to see that people with disability are great employees.

“We still get people… some customers… being quite impatient with people with disability or not understanding that there may be some challenges… so we want people to understand that people with disability are great employees,” she said.

“They turn up on time, they work hard all day, they give 120 per cent and they they go home. They may not be able to work at 100 per cent speed all the time but they give it a go and they love their job.”

In a bid to raise awareness Haynes said they are planning to take the coffee cart to festivals.

“So we have booked to do Live Large which is a festival that will be at Southbank in March / April, so that will be an all weeker so that will really test the guy’s skills as it will be very commercial,” she said.

“Then we have also applied to take a coffee cart to the Ekka, and so once again that will be high profile… where the guys will be flat out making coffees or making milkshakes. So we are trying to increase the profile and increase the skills of the supported workers.

“I guess what sets the coffee cart apart is that… employees are there to work independently with a limited support so it really gets them ready for open employment.

“[We want people to know] if they buy a cup of coffee from us it is about creating jobs, it is sort of like when not for profits sell lottery tickets or do fundraising with a difference, because not only are they buying a cup of coffee they are creating employment and also helping a not for profit.”

Wendy Williams  |  Editor  |  @WendyAnWilliams

Wendy Williams is a journalist specialising in the not-for-profit sector and broader social economy. She has been the editor of Pro Bono News since 2018.

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