A social enterprise training café has opened at the Mount Gambier Library this week. ‘Bookmarked By Kefi’ is a new concept delivered by local service Kefi Supports to help local people into work.
“Our motto for the café is that everyone is capable to contribute to society in a positive manner,” Kefi Supports CEO Toby Harrap said.
Eight staff have been employed to work in the café with assistance from an individual support worker when required.
“All of the support staff we have hired are all neurodivergent, so they have autism, extreme anxiety or ADHD,” Mr Harrap said.
“We have got a group of people who are on supported wages, so they have the capability to work, but they may not be able to work in the pressure of a standard work environment. They may just need that extra help, so that’s why we have our support workers on, just to back them up.”
The cafe menu will be limited to hot and cold drinks in the short term, with plans to launch a ‘four and four menu’ with sweet and savoury food options in a few weeks time.
“All of our food will be prepared by people with disabilities or mental health conditions so there is going to be a behind the scenes team that do all our baking.”
We’re starting with the basics to make sure we’ve got it right and down the track we’d like to do themed nights, trivia and catering. - Kefi Supports CEO Toby Harrap
Mr Harrap said that the café provides opportunities for people who may feel overwhelmed by a full time job, but still want to contribute to the community.
“We support a lovely lady who has early onset dementia. She has worked hard her whole life and she really wants to go back to work, but she can’t because she can’t remember. She is coming in to work at the café and she has already told me that she’s going to do my dishes and talk to all our customers and drum up business, so it’s great to give her that opportunity.”
“We’ve also got Laura who is so happy and bubbly and is keen to learn how to make coffee and meet our customers.”
Kefi Supports hopes to work with local educational providers and cafes to upskill staff.
“We want this to be a growth and development opportunity, so we’d like to work in conjunction with TAFE to get participants certified with a retail or hospitality certificate. Toni Vorenas at Metro café has also indicated that our staff are welcome to do work experience with her to experience a fully commercial café, so we hope to offer that in the future when they feel confident enough.”
City of Mount Gambier is pleased to partner with Kefi Supports to deliver the program for the next three years.
“Libraries are all about lifelong learning, so this partnership with Bookmarked by Kefi really makes sense,” Manager Library and Community Development Georgina Davison said.
“The café provides a point of difference in supporting local people to develop their skill set and confidence through Kefi, and I know our community are going to enjoy their hospitality.”
Bookmarked by Kefi trading hours this week: 9:00am until 2:30pm Monday to Friday.
Trading hours next week: 9:00am until 5:30pm Monday to Friday, 9:00am until 1:00pm on Saturday and 10:00am until 2:00pm on Sunday.
Media contact: City of Mount Gambier Media and Communications Coordinator Sharny McLean on 8721 2401 or firstname.lastname@example.org