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Serving up opportunities

A business helping young people develop capacity building through community service engagement, hospitality and social skills has moved into High St, Wodonga where The Secret Cup was previously located.

Fernbank Confectionary Crew, in conjunction with Fernbank Support Consultant, provides young people with opportunites to learn new skills to help enter the workforce.

The confectionary crew started at Wodonga’s Heinrich Bakery last year with a small group of people wanting to engage in the community whilst building capacity for independent living and workplace skills. Managing Director Josette Fisher said the participants worked with bakery staff to make baked goods.

“Progress quickly moved the program to a new level of required learning and passion for a more creative space to enable multiple learning and development programs and community service engagement,” she said.

After moving into High St in July, The Fernbank Hub was established which empowers barista skill building known as the ‘Coffee Bar’, open from 10am to 1pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Ms Fisher said she likes to refer to Fernbank as ‘The Hub’ because there’s a cluster of community programs happening in one space that support social needs and personal goals.

Fernbank is currently working alongside Uniting, a community service that provides emergency relief items and food parcels to those most in need.

“We gather all of the ingredients available from Uniting each week that have been donated by organisations and the participants create a weekly menu plan and prepare meals which are then delivered back to Uniting for distribution to people in need,” Ms Fisher said.

“Last week The Fernbank Hub provided 90 meals which is our biggest week yet.

“It’s extremely rewarding for our crew because they understand that our program is creating nutritious meals for our community.”

There are six participants currently in the program who have made a range of meals including fish with lemon butter and rice, chicken burger and potato casserole, sausage rolls and duck fried rice.

Ms Fisher is looking forward to working with Uniting on new community-based programs and events which will enhance their working relationship and provide program participants with skills for independent living and social engagement.

The Hub provides a welcoming, inclusive space for community members to meet whilst developing skills and capacity for social engagement.

Fernbank currently operates Monday to Thursday from 9.30am to 1.30pm.

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