HOMEMADE sausage rolls are helping a band of budding cooks improve their employability skills.
They do make other meals on the menu but the sausage rolls, served with homemade tomato or mango chutney, are customers’ favourites.
Ballarat Neighbourhood Centre’s social enterprise kitchen opened earlier this year. Open three days a week, the enterprise is starting to get into catering projects and develop as a bakery-style cafe.
The kitchen’s aim is two-fold: to help the long-term unemployed, migrants and refugees build job confidence and skills; and, to provide good food to the surrounding community at a low cost.Based in Ballarat South Community Hub, the kitchen’s goods are sold in the community, including Phoenix P-12 College’s canteen and the nearby public dental clinic.
Social enterprise coordinator Katharine Drummond-Gillett said everything they made were actually packed with vegetables, including the sausage rolls, but most people would never even know.
There are about 10 workers in the kitchen. The enterprise is run on business principles, with a strong focus on requirements like punctuality and reliability.
Cook Marciar Goon, who is from the Philippines, said the kitchen had taught her a lot – especially about Australian culture and taste.
“I’ve learned to make sausage rolls. It has opened my eyes up to western cuisine,” Ms Goon said. “I’ve been learning about spices, all different kinds of spices used here.”
This is about getting work-ready but in a different way.
Ballarat Neighbourhood Centre team leader Jan Simmons said the enterprise was a great way to help people find a real sense of belonging and purpose.
Ms Simmons first came across the concept when travelling through Scotland looking at community bank projects. Some she found were people with disabilities running a laundry for sporting clubs and a group of people with mental illness running a bed and breakfast.
For details about the kitchen’s catering, email: email@example.com.