Coffee Box helping disadvantaged women to reconnect with life

Following the launch of Byron’s new ‘Coffee Box’ there has already been a positive impact on the local community particularly those who have used the on-site training program.

The program provides participants with barista training and maintenance of an industrial coffee machine, customer service skills, as well as job‐ready education including interpersonal skills, self-care and physical wellbeing.

Byron Bay local Sharon said the program had enabled her to reconnect with the community after overcoming a traumatic time in her life.

“It’s been great for me being back in the workforce and connecting with people. Connection is important,” Sharon said.

“I’ve been learning how to do cash handling, serving customers and making coffees.”

Sharon hopes to find herself a hospitality job to help support her while she is studying.

“I’m currently studying Certificate IV in Community Services and then will undertake the Diploma. I’m hoping to have a career in this field so I can help others who have also struggled,” she said.

The Byron Shire Council’s most recent Social Plan identified women and children as an at-risk group facing disadvantage due to high unemployment, and housing affordability in the region.

Byron Bay Community Association (BBCA) General Manager Paul Spooner said the Coffee Box project aimed to enhance employment opportunities and foster the development of life skills for disadvantaged women in the local community.

“Program participants will facilitate the running and coordination of the Coffee Box and take part in a range of training modules that support their potential employment aspirations as well as address areas of disadvantage in their lives,” Mr Spooner said.

“Work experience and training delivered via the program will enable a pathway for women out of disadvantage.”

A $15,000 grant from the ETC Community Support Fund enabled the Community Centre to purchase a converted shipping container from which the training is delivered outside the Byron Bay Community Centre in Jonson Street.

“The support from ETC has been fantastic. It is true to say that this project would not have got off the ground without the grant money from ETC,” Mr Spooner said.

To find out more about the Coffee Box and how you can get involved contact the Community Centre on (02) 6685 6807.

ETC Chairman Rod McKelvey said it was a pleasure to be able to support the Byron Bay Community Association.

“The ETC Community Support Fund is designed to help organisations reduce disadvantage, generate opportunity, increase support services and/or build capacity in the communities in which we operate,” Mr McKelvey said.

“ETC is proud to be a not-for-profit company and we are confident the money we are donating will help make a more positive future for our community.”

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