Five years ago, SGS Economics and Planning Principal and Partner Ellen Witte and Consultant Tara Callinan worked with Moonee Valley City Council to prepare the business and financial plans for a café with a social purpose. Now up and running in a restored heritage building in Flemington, Crown Street Stables café provides a vital training and employment pathway for people with a disability.
The Crown Street Stables café 12-week trainee program helps local people with a disability gain valuable on-the-job work experience in a safe and respectful environment. Throughout the program, trainees get support to explore their future employment options and prepare for paid employment.
Preparing the business and financial plans for the café was an interesting and rewarding experience explained Tara Callinan.
“We engaged with a diverse range of stakeholders – from people with disabilities already in the workforce to training organisations, food retailers and café owners. To make it work, we had to drill down to the minute detail. I remember sitting in the office discussing with Council what the café menu would be, where the food would be sourced from, the opening hours, even the number of forks the café would need,” said Ms Callinan.
“It was a very special project. I personally found it very rewarding knowing the café would showcase the abilities of the trainee staff and create real opportunities for future employment” she said.