It happened while I was doing the dishes. Usually, like I was told by an incredible mentor, these kinds of things happen while you’re having a shower. You know them, those moments of incredible mental clarity and great ideas. This time, however, it was a little different, as the idea was not my own, but one that I stood, open-mouthed in awe at. It was a community initiative that shows the heart and soul of the Australian persona.
I was off on some usual internal monologue about Australia and its government. I was frustrated by seeing Julia Gillard and her awful accent on television, daydreaming about my romanticised memories of Melbourne, and considering the impact of that day’s research into tax implications of investing in Australia as a foreign resident. One can’t help, at that point, but to drift off into that usual tirade of scorning Australia’s policies to tax its middle class at phenomenally high rates without giving enough reciprocal support. It’s frustrating and I don’t know how I never questioned these taxes before. Usually, my dissent arose from pitiful tax breaks of five dollars a week, where those billions of dollars could have been used to support the crippled education or medical system. Yes, our facilities are pretty good compared to third world countries, but we are a first world nation and we’ve got to keep our priorities straight.
Then, The 7pm Project graced our television screen and, it happened. There was an article about an innovative concept showing off the skills of someone else who had clearly had a shower moment. I can just imagine the guy now, battling his own internal monologue about the difficulties that people with mental illnesses face trying to build their skills in the wider community, and then that great big smile when the light bulb flicks on. This man had developed the idea of the MadCap Cafe and warmed my heart with his brilliant idea. Three cafes, franchised across Victoria, provide barista and sales training and support for people with mental illnesses. They run a wonderful café where people who face challenges in the day-to-day work side by side with supportive and caring café workers to build skills and eventually move on to work in cafes across Australia.
With branches in Westfield Geelong, Fountain Gate and Dandenong Plaza, the MadCap Café are working hard to help their trainees graduate the MadCap program and support their transition into other well-known coffee franchises, including Australia’s own Gloria Jean’s Coffee. Here is an incredible team of people making huge differences to the lives of so many people who need just that little bit of extra help. Not only that, but when MadCap “graduates” are working well in other franchises, the awareness and support in the community from other workers and the public only grows and we see more of that Aussie culture we are well known for.
That said, these cafes need your support. At the moment, they receive government support but they also have to build up their business on their own. Please, if you live in Victoria, and have the time and the means to support this astounding initiative, show your support and take some time out at MadCap café. I can’t think of a better, or more pleasant way to support your community and help build awareness and support for those who need that little bit of extra help, care and consideration.