Win-win café for residents and students

Baptistcare Gracehaven Residential Care in Rockingham was approached by a local school and asked if they could start a volunteer community project at the facility. The school was looking for a way to enable their students, who have learning difficulties, to pick up skills they could use in future to find work once they graduate.

Kim Jordan, Lifestyle Coordinator at Gracehaven, met with the school and together they came up with the idea of creating a café for the residents. Like a regular café, there are menus on each table and the students go to each table to take the residents’ orders using a notepad and pen. They then serve the residents their drinks and choice of cake, which they also bake themselves beforehand.

“We have a hospitality stream at the school,”  said teacher Phil Smith. “This goes towards the students’ Certificate I in Hospitality. The kids like it and the residents like it. We’re very lucky it’s a great win-win relationship and it’s a great set up for the students because it’s not too busy for them but busy enough for them to feel what it’s like to work in a café.”

One of the student volunteers said, “I enjoy meeting new people. It’s nice to get out of the classroom, doing something active for school.”

“The residents love the social aspect,”  said Kim. “Some residents are unable to make a cup of tea or coffee for their guests, so they love bringing them to the café to socialise.”

The café is full almost every week with happy residents out for a chat.

“This is my first time here,” said resident Lydia. “I’ve just moved into Gracehaven and thought this would be a good place to meet people.”

“She was going to go to the shops,” said Annie, a fellow resident. “But I told her, ‘no, you have to come to the café’, and I brought her here.”

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer at one of our residential care facilities, please visit or contact us on 1300 660 640.