Permission to pay-it-forward

HOBART City Mission is finding innovative new ways to help those in need with its new café, Permission to Eat.

Located on Barrack Street, Permission to Eat is a social enterprise concept that uses a pay-it-forward system to help disadvantaged Tasmanians, with all proceeds going back into the Mission’s work.

The café also acts as a training facility for those suffering from or at risk of long-term unemployment, offering training and skill development to assist in gaining work within the hospitality industry.

Hobart City Mission chief executive officer John Stubley said the café venture was focused on meeting a need through the delivery of innovative services.

“Government funds are short and if we don’t help each other, then no one will,” he said.

“Not-for-profit organisations need to look for innovative ways to meet community needs, as there are many people out there who desperately want to enter the workforce but just need someone to give them a break.”

Mr Stubley said the initial hope was to have a self-funded facility to help the long-term unemployed gain the experience and skills necessary to enter the workforce.

“The idea of the pay-it-forward concept was then born as a means of supplementing our Emergency Relief program, both through the provision of sit-down meals in the café and takeaway frozen meals for others,” he said.

“The training program is aimed at the long-term unemployed and people leaving prison who are keen to re-enter the workforce in the hospitality industry – we will give them a chance when others will not.

“By working with Workskills Tasmania and Outside the Square Solutions we will identify those most at need and appropriate for this environment.

“The program will then offer a range of outcomes based on the individual’s circumstances, desires and capabilities, and we anticipate that, in time, restaurants and cafes will learn to come to us seeking trainees who are ‘ready to go’.”

Running for just more than three months, Permission to Eat offers a range of products from plated breakfast, filled breads, salads and terrines to fine-dining flavours packed into café sized dishes.

Store manager Christina Sharpe said the café had received “great feedback” on its food and service.

“There is no drop in quality just because it is charity-based,” she said.

“Guests love being connected to the good they are doing, knowing the meal they are pay-forwarding is the same as the one they just ate.

“We have received fantastic support from the community to date, so much so that we have been able to start filling a freezer at our Moonah office with packaged frozen meals to start reaching out beyond Hobart.”

Mr Stubley said the Mission was now looking to roll out the pay-it-forward model to a range of commercial cafes in local communities, where it will be able to sell meal tokens to be redeemed in the community.

For more information about Hobart City Mission, go to https://hobartcitymission.org.au.

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The Hobart Observer is your monthly community newspaper, reaching over 24,000 homes and businesses in and around the City of Hobart. It is the product of Nicolas Turner, Justine Brazil, Ben Hope, Simon Andrews, Tobias Hinds and guest contributors, with support from advertisers.

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