22 June 2018

Six Degrees Café launches to help students with special needs

| Rachel Ziv
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Six Degrees Cafe

Coffee lovers are in for a treat next week, with the launch of the Six Degrees Café at Black Mountain High School in O’Connor.

For the past year, students with learning and development disabilities have been immersing themselves in a work-style experience, learning how to make coffee, serve customers and work as a team.

Acting Principal for the school, Lara Coman says, “The number one priority of the café is to provide a workplace training environment for the students. We aim to provide a centre for independent growth and development at a school and community level. The facility will be used to train and certify young people with a disability in areas of industry, and increase opportunities for people with a disability to gain future employment and volunteering work.

“They have worked really hard, and are now at a place where they’re ready to serve coffee at industry standard. So we are really pleased to be able to launch next Tuesday (May 9) and thank the sponsors that made it all possible.

“The public are welcome to come for coffee from 9 am Wednesday May 10, and then any Tuesday or Wednesday between 9 am and 2 pm. It’s not only a great opportunity for students to showcase their skills and build confidence, but also for Canberrans to expand their minds and envisage how they might find a place within their workplace for someone with an intellectual disability and/or autism.”

The Canberra Community Bank Group (which owns 4 Bendigo Bank branches in Canberra), is one of the key sponsors of the event, having donated $15,000 and raising an additional $5,000 through their Crowdfunding Community initiative.

Neale Guthrie, Chair of the Board of the Canberra Community Bank Group, says “Part of our charter is to give back to the community, so we’re always looking for innovative and unique ways to do that.

“When we heard about the concept of the Six Degrees Café, it aligned really well. We felt that helping the students at Black Mountain High School towards their goal of gaining employment was a great way to give back and support the entire Canberra community.”

The Canberra Community Bank Group is owned and run by families across Canberra and Queanbeyan, who are shareholders (members of Bendigo Bank in Calwell, Curtin, Wanniassa or Jerrabomberra), and staff or volunteer board members.

“We work very hard to provide a good return for our shareholders, as they are all Canberra and Queanbeyan families that took a punt and invested with us.

“80% of our profits go back into the community via charity or community projects. And the Six Degrees Café is just the sort of project we like to support, as it helps to build community structure as well as community spirit.”

For more information on the Crowdfunding Community Initiative, or local Bendigo Bank initiatives, please visit the Canberra Community Bank Group.

The Six Degrees Café will open to the public next Wednesday at 9 am, and then every Tuesday and Wednesday from 9 am to 2 pm. It is located inside the school grounds of Black Mountain High School on Cockle Street, O’Connor.

This is a sponsored article, though all opinions are the author’s own. For more information on paid content, see our sponsored content policy.

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Bravo to everyone involved! Looking forward to a relaxing coffee soon.

Glynis Quinlan9:26 pm 03 May 17

A great initiative! I have seen similar ideas work really well elsewhere.

Elizabeth Lee MLA9:06 pm 03 May 17

What an amazing initiative! I used to play field hockey with Principal Lara Coman and she’s a beautiful person – the perfect leader for this project. I’ll definitely be over for a cuppa soon

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