The Central Coast made history this month as breakthru and Royal Rehab launch the region’s first ever fully inclusive and accessible café.
A new initiative by for-purpose organisations Royal Rehab and breakthru, known for their innovative approach to disability inclusion, the aim of the café is to provide a truly sustainable and inclusive space for everyone on the Central Coast while also offering employment and training opportunities for people with disability.
Breaking Grounds café is set to be a great example of accessible design and will feature a range of facilities aimed at accommodating people with disability. The café features accessible entryways with wheelchair friendly tables and benches, all of which are seamlessly integrated into the design to create an environment that is welcoming to all. The café offers high-quality, locally sourced food, great coffee, and its warm and inviting atmosphere will make it the perfect destination for people of all abilities, whether patrons or staff.
The café’s primary espresso machine – which was generously donated by Allpress coffee – has been placed on and adjustable bench, allowing a comfortable workstation for staff of any stature, including wheelchair and mobility aid users. An automatic coffee grinder and tamp also add to the accessibility for our staff.
CEO of Royal Rehab Matt Mackay, stated, “Breaking Grounds café is designed to look like any other ‘mainstream’ café, but with accessible and inclusive features seamlessly integrated to demonstrate what organisations should strive to achieve in the future. Every element of this café is designed to be accessible for everyone in our community – both as customers and employees.” He added, “Our goal is to provide a space where people with disability can feel comfortable and included, while also showcasing the many benefits of accessible design.”
The launch of Breaking Grounds café comes at a crucial time as the Central Coast Disability Action Plan reveals alarmingly high rates of disability discrimination in the community. 41% of respondents in the plan stated that they or the person they care for had recently been discriminated against due to their disability.
David Harris MP, Member for Wyong and Shadow Minister for Jobs, Investment & Tourism, commented on the importance of Breaking Grounds café in tackling the barriers placed around people with disability, stating, “As the Shadow Minister for Jobs, I understand the importance and opportunities presented by inclusive employment practices and skills development.” He added, “I commend Breaking Grounds for their innovation and commitment to both the Central Coast Disability Action Plan and providing important employment opportunities.”
In addition to providing employment and training opportunities for people with disability, Breaking Grounds café is also set to play a role in resolving the issue of hospitality staff shortages on the Central Coast. Despite the huge labour shortage across the country, people with disability still face high levels of unemployment. Matt Mackay said, “We really encourage local businesses to open their minds to employing someone with a disability. People living with disability are a hugely untapped group that research shows are eager to work and are incredibly loyal. A diverse workforce is a strong workforce.”
Breaking Grounds café will provide hands-on training in the hospitality industry for people with disability, including people living with a mental or physical health condition, experiencing long-term unemployment, unmet educational goals, or homelessness. The first class of trainees is already underway, where students will complete three nationally accredited units as part of a Certificate II in Workplace Skills.
23-year-old Samantha, a School Leaver Employment Support participant at breakthru – a wholly owned subsidiary of Royal Rehab – expressed her excitement about the café, saying, “It is a very inclusive space and allows people with disability to learn new skills. And perhaps most importantly, both the food and coffee are really good!”.
Located on the ground floor at 1 Bryant Drive, Tuggerah, the café is part of a building that includes disability support services, medical clinics, the local member’s office, and the headquarters of the Central Coast Mariners. Not only does the café serve great coffee, but it also represents a new level of inclusivity and accessibility on the Central Coast.
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