A new cafe supporting people with disabilities has opened in Katherine.
The first of its kind in the region, Equalitea will provide hands on training for people to become skilled in hospitality.
While your coffee might take a few minutes longer than usual, the cafe is providing future employment opportunities for its participants.
NT Friendship and Support community engagement manager Tricia Kelly will be managing the cafe and overseeing the training and development.
“There are a lot of people in Katherine who have disabilities who don’t have opportunities for employment,” Ms Kelly said.
“Everyone has the ability to learn a new skill and the right to be engaged in the community.
“There are a lot of services for people with disabilities in Darwin and down south, but this is the first in Katherine,” she said.
The inclusive cafe will provide individual support to build confidence, skills and relationships.
“Some of the participants have challenging requirements and might only manage two hours of work per day,” Ms Kelly said.
“Coming on board, each participant will be assessed to see where their skills sit and what they might be interested in. We might have a participant learning how to be a barista, or a kitchen hand, or they might be more interested in the service side.”
In addition to general cafe staff keeping the place running smoothly, support workers trained in community services will be paired up with participants to ensure continued guidance and support.
While the new program, which is supported through NDIS funding, aims to build needed skills for future employment in a safe environment there are limitations.
“We have to take into account what is practical, but our goal is always ensuring we assist people to get the best out of the training.
“Starting with the basics and depending on an individual’s ability to learn and retain information, we hope participants end up with a job or a new skill,” Ms Kelly said.
The cafe, which officially opened yesterday, has been in the works for a couple of years, but residents will be happy to find a new place for their morning coffee fix, home baked scones or fresh sandwiches.
Open Monday to Friday at the moment, as the business grows there is scope for additional opening hours on the weekend.
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