Why a Café?
This is not just another café, it’s a social enterprise that will be life changing for school leavers who are on the spectrum.
Here’s the back story:
The inspiration behind this venture is, my amazing, engaging, funny, 20 something-year-old son, Richard who is struggling to find his place in our world.
Richard has autism and employers are not rolling out the red carpet for him and his peers.
According to the ABS, “the labour force participation rate is 40.8% among the 75,200 people of working age (15-64 years), living with autism spectrum disorders.”
Unfortunately, most post-school services available to our young people with autism, are adult babysitting services that drain our NDIS funding and provide few or no outcomes.
There are few alternatives so they attend the best service that can be found. These services provide little attempt at actively seeking employment opportunities or further developing employment skills.
Our young people have the capacity to learn and contribute, but they need opportunities.
The aim of the MATES Café
To teach our young people hospitality skills, and for those who can take these skills out to open employment, then that’s a huge win.
For those who need to stay in a supported environment, they will have a social enterprise that employs them and will continue to develop their interests and skills.
This model is not one based on segregation as it requires the support of the local community to work beside them, to buy their coffee and lunch, have their meetings and place their boardroom catering orders at this café. Patrons will interact with our young people who will feel that they belong to our community.
Most importantly, our young people will wake up and have a sense of purpose and achievement. Something we all desire.
If you would like to get in touch, email us or help by contributing to the site cost by donating.