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14 May 2020
Hobart Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds, former Test cricketer David Boon and The Salvation Army Housing Campbell Street program manager Anthony Fagan at the coffee cart.
An employment program in the Tasmania capital, called Coffee Ground, is giving people from The Salvation Army Housing centre in Campbell Street an opportunity to undergo workplace training to prepare them for paid employment.
Only one week into the program, one participant declared, “Today is the first day that I have woken up for work in 17 years!”
Hobart Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds and legendary cricketer David Boon launched the Coffee Ground initiative in March at the Campbell Street centre, in the heart of the city, where 30 support workers and clients celebrated with, what else, but a cup of coffee.
It is a much-needed gateway to employment for residents. Seventy per cent of them are on a disability support pension, and many have been unable find sustainable employment for years.
“These are people that have been shelved by employment agencies and employers, but we are helping them back into the workplace,” said Anthony Fagan, program manager at Campbell Street.
Coffee Ground is a collaborative initiative between The Salvation Army, CVGT Disability Employment Services, TAFE and Hobart City Council.
The program provides workplace and hospitality training and a TAFE accreditation in preparation for paid employment. Many participants will also go on to be employed at The Salvation Army’s Campbell Street centre coffee cart.
Situated near Hobart TAFE and the Royal Hobart Hospital, it places employees and trainees in the centre of Hobart’s business district, and breaks down class division where clients would previously have struggled to find purpose.
“Working with Coffee Ground provides a connection between a cohort of people who live in social housing and people who live in the wider Hobart community,” said Anthony.
“Our clients are providing something for others and [are] doing that in the context of being gainfully employed; thereby increasing [their] resources, self esteem, identity and purpose. This is going to bring an otherwise disenfranchised people closer in line with people who are walking up and down the street wearing suits and ties.”
Funded through grants from the Mercy Foundation and Hobart City Council, Anthony says the program reflects the positive collaboration between organisations and services in the city.
“This was developed with a whole lot of determination [from] individuals, but it was also a great exercise in developing partnerships.”