Coffee project meeting aims

16:00, Feb 27 2014
Evelyn Munn
COFFEE CREW: From left: Head chef Ralph, trainees Kesaia Sisi and Jonny Tasi along with co-manager Paul Fletcher from the Roskill Coffee Project.

A coffee shop that donates 100 per cent of its profits back into community projects is running full steam ahead after only being open three months.

The Roskill Coffee Project is the initiative of three friends who wanted to give disadvantaged young people an opportunity to work in the cafe and gain some experience, while also whipping up a good fair-trade latte for the locals.

Money raised is fed into community ventures through a trust the friends have created.

Co-manager Paul Fletcher says business is steadily growing and they have decided to employ two of their trainees on a permanent part-time basis.

"The best part of the project - and what we hoped for - is just to see these guys come out of their shells and realise they can do this thing and do this thing well," Mr Fletcher says. "It's actually probably the best part of the job."

Jonny Tasi, 20, took on a trainee position at The Roskill Coffee Project after being invited by Mr Fletcher.

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He is currently working two jobs to make ends meet but says working at the cafe has sparked his interest in becoming a chef.

"One day the head chef couldn't come in so I got chucked in the deep end," Mr Tasi says.

"It was good. I made a few mistakes but I learnt from that."

The cafe is still taking on young trainees on a three-monthly basis to help give them real-world experience.

Mr Fletcher says it has been encouraging to see the community's response to the innovative project.

"We've had great feedback about everything from the coffee through to just the interaction with the guys here," he says. "One of the things that brings the most joy is seeing local people meet other local people.

"It's a real hub for those who care about the community."

Central Leader