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Henbury on Aralia

The northern suburb of Nightcliff has earned itself the reputation of being a hot spot for a good cuppa, with baristas and baked goods popping up in bricks and mortar shopfronts or on wheels along the foreshore. But at newest kid on the block, Henbury on Aralia, coffee is served with a side of something extra sweet.

Since May last year, the café has given Henbury School students with a range of disabilities the opportunity to connect with the public and gain experience in a hospitality setting, instilling a sense of achievement and enhancing self-esteem.

Henbury Senior Teacher Raylee Parker says opening the café, located next to Henbury’s Opportunity Knocks op shop, was a natural step forward.

“The café was created as an extension to our school-based work-training programs, and to develop the students’ work training skills in a real life setting,” she says.

“We have the campus-based café, called Café on Henbury, and also the Crewz'n Brew Coffee Trailer, so this is an extension of that. It’s enabled more direct learning with retail, horticultural and barista skills, and also links really well to our op shop next door – we call it our Nightcliff learning precinct.”

Henbury School is revered for building community awareness in disability inclusion. Henbury on Aralia Manager Tahnee Badrock, also a qualified chef, says the café has had a wonderful effect on the students.

“It gives them a sense of responsibility but also a real sense of worthiness and purpose. They get to be part of a team that relies on them – on the weekends we’re really quite busy, so they need to be a bit more independent,” she says.

“I think the real benefit is that, while they get to do this at school, it’s their chance to do it in the community – real customers, real money, real orders. It can be scary and challenging for them at times, but it’s a great opportunity to help them improve and get them job ready.”

Students receive certified barista training at the school and the café program provides pathways to paid employment. On Saturdays, café and op shop workers are paid award wages, otherwise run as part of the school curriculum.

The café also includes a retail space with student-grown plants, student-created crafts, and chutneys and jams made from produce grown at the school. The menu is short but sweet and refreshed every term, with a range of fresh food options and treats to tantalise those tastebuds, including spinach and ricotta rolls with chutney and pumpkin, feta and rocket frittata. They’re also getting a name for their scones with jam and cream!

Tahnee says the community has welcomed the café with open arms.

“We are so busy sometimes, and it might take a bit longer to do things because we are a training café. The public are really open to it and I think the space feels inclusive, so it appeals to a diverse group of people because they feel comfortable.”

Next time you’re in the Nightcliff and in need of a coffee, scone or frittata, pay our friends at Henbury on Aralia a visit.

Open Hours
THU & FRI, 9.30AM-2PM | SAT 9AM-1PM

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