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  • Author: HammondCare
  • Read time: 2 min. read


  • 18 October 2023
  • News

HammondCare and The Disability Trust join forces to officially open The Plant Room Cafe

  • Author: HammondCare
  • Read time: 2 min. read
Supported employees with disability will work in a social enterprise co-located in a dementia care village at HammondCare Horsley in an Australian first.

The Plant Room café operated by The Disability Trust -- offering barista-made coffee with beans from Illawarra-based Seven Miles and quality fresh food -- will be open to both the local community as well as HammondCare Horsley residents, their visiting loved ones, and staff.

The Plant Room, located at Shone Ave, Horsley, is next to a children’s playground that HammondCare provides for the benefit of visitors and the local community.

HammondCare CEO Mike Baird opened The Plant Room together with The Disability Trust’s Chief Executive Officer, Carol Berry, at Horsley at a small event with catering supplied by The Plant Room Café, of course.

“We are delighted The Disability Trust has chosen to operate this café at Horsley that has potential to change the lives of people as they pick up new skills and experience,” Mr Baird said.

“HammondCare is aligned with The Disability Trust in our values and our Mission to improve the quality of life of people who have needs or require support.”

“Offering a café on our Horsley site, like the playground, is an important way for HammondCare to connect our aged care home with the local community.”

The Plant Room suuported worker Brett Grimson sharing some scrambled egg on toast

Ms Berry said the café was The Disability Trust’s second Plant Room after opening its first at Edney Lane, Spring Hill.

“The Plant Room’s philosophy is to create a more inclusive world through employees and customers alike having a fantastic experience. We want our staff to feel safe to practice their skills as well as produce high quality food and coffee,” Ms Berry said.

“Our goal with this venture is to develop the skills and experience of our supported employees so they can pursue open employment in the hospitality industry, should they choose to do so, and to maximise the chances of that transition being a great experience for them and their future employers.”

The Disability Trust employs more than 1800 permanent and casual staff providing care for more than 4000 participants in NSW, ACT, and southeast Queensland.

Two supported employees and two other staff will be in The Plant Room Café at Horsley at any time. Before they begin work with the Disability Trust, supported employees are given an opportunity to outline what their goals are, including where they would like to be in 12-18 months.

One of the supported employees who work at the café, Isabella said: “I always loved cooking and wanted to build on my confidence as I have always been quite shy”.

Isabella said she has a long-term goal to further her training in hospitality with a view to working in open employment.

Local chef Lorenzo Pagnan, who has experience at Illawarra establishments such as Ristorante Due Mezzi, Sweet Lips and the Cheeky Fig, will oversee training and food preparation.

“These supported employees will be taught to work in a fully operational kitchen with commercial equipment like coffee machines and the challenge of preparing food to order,” he said.

“It’s not a case of taking the lid off something and zap in the microwave for 30 seconds.

”The Plant Room café will be open for coffee, snacks and café food, Monday - Saturday from 8am until 2.30pm.