Jobs Events Advertise

Social enterprise restaurant provides ready-made meals to communities

Rachael Knowles -

Charcoal Lane, Mission Australia's Fitzroy-based enterprise restaurant, is ensuring mob has access to nutritional meals during the COVID-19 lockdown.

The restaurant is providing ready-made meals to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities through relationships with a number of organisations and councils, including:

Victorian Aboriginal Health Service (VAHS)

Aboriginal Community Elders Services (ACES)

Darebin City Council

Yarra City Council's Aboriginal Support Network

cohealth's Billabong BBQ Program

Aboriginal Housing Victoria (AHV)

Melbourne Aboriginal Youth Sport and Recreation Co-operative (MAYSAR).

Mission Australia's Manager of Social Enterprise Programs, Tony Crellin, said Charcoal Lane has had to adapt as a social enterprise during COVID-19 restrictions.

"As a social enterprise Charcoal Lane relies on revenue generated from our restaurant. When it was mandated that restaurants close their dine-in options, we needed to address how we sustain this program that employs, trains and educates up to 30 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people annually," Crellin said.

"The number one concern raised by our trainees in this time was concern for Elders.

"In response, we consulted with local Aboriginal Elders and leaders and agreed if Mission Australia repurposed the kitchens to produce at cost nutritious meals, the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service would manage and mobilise support to distribute the meals to local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members who were left vulnerable by the COVID-19 lockdown measures."

Uncle Dave Arden and Michael Graham Jr. from VAHS delivering meals in Darebin. Photo supplied by Mission Australia.

Crellin said the pre-existing relationships that VAHS, ACES and Yarra City Council's Aboriginal Support Network had with local community along with the knowledge of AHV and MAYSAR enabled those struggling, who may not have reached out for help, to have access to support.

Prepared at the restaurant, the meals are distributed once a week through the Billabong BBQ program in Yarra, and daily by the VAHS to the Darebin area and ACES network.

"When we arrive with the meals, it is an opportunity for us to connect people to the right health services or encourage them to look after their health by following current health guidelines and take actions such as getting a flu shot," said VAHS CEO, Michael Graham.

"Providing them with a nutritious meal is an important part of ensuring those most at risk are best looked after."

"It's not just about delivering the meals, but the conversations that happens. Sometimes when we deliver the meals, we feel as though we are being the 'Message Stick' between families, sharing news or just providing someone to talk to and continuing to build a sense of connection.

"In some ways what we are doing alongside Charcoal Lane and Council is not new. For many Aboriginal people, looking out for each other and our community and being resilient when challenging times hit are important values."

Profit made from this program along with Charcoal Lane's updated takeaway menu will enable the social enterprise to remain open and allow staff to continue supporting young trainees.

By Rachael Knowles

   Related   

Debbie Kilroy slams Queensland's expansion of youth detention, and calls for community solutions
Queensland Premier Steven Miles and Youth Justice Minister Di Farmer initiated the construction of a new 80-bed youth detention...
Joseph Guenzler 1 Mar 2024
Canada's largest private sector union condemns arrest of First Nations journalist, warns of threat to democracy
Canada's largest private sector union has slammed the arrest and charging of an Indigenous journalist as a threat to "Canadian n...
Giovanni Torre 1 Mar 2024
Mystery around locations of native forestry plan
The location of native forest parcels slated to be logged in Tasmania under a Liberal government election pledge may not be made...
Ethan James 1 Mar 2024
DOBBY, Emma Donovan amongst new Indigenous Literacy Foundation ambassadors
National charity the Indigenous Literacy Foundation has announced musician DOBBY, singer Emma Donovan, TV personality Bianca Hun...
Callan Morse 1 Mar 2024

   Rachael Knowles   

Stephen Dawson booted from Western Australian Aboriginal Affairs portfolio
Questions have arisen about Western Australia’s Aboriginal Affairs Department after Minister Stephen Dawson was stripped of the...
Rachael Knowles 21 Dec 2021
Inquest into Victorian death in custody of Aboriginal woman begins
Please note: This story contains reference to and an image of someone who has died. The Directions hearing into the death in...
Rachael Knowles 17 Dec 2021
Gamilaraay star hits new heights as Toyota Star Maker Grand Finalist
Country music star and Gamilaraay woman Loren Ryan has a grand finalist in the 2022 Toyota Star Maker competition. Ms Ryan, a...
Rachael Knowles 22 Dec 2021
WA Government cops backlash after passing of Cultural Heritage Bill
Criticism has continued for the Western Australian Government after the Cultural Heritage Bill was passed without amendment on W...
Rachael Knowles 16 Dec 2021