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The clever cafe serving up training and jobs to at-risk youth

Serving as both a relaxed place for young people to socialise and as a training ground and place of employment for at-risk youth seeking a career in hospitality, Project Youth’s Cafe Y in Menai has proven to be a considerable success since its inception in 2014.

Not-for-profit organisation Project Youth, which provides support, programs and accommodation services to at-risk young people and their families across the Sutherland Shire and St George regions, established Cafe Y upon recognising the difficulty many of the young people they’d worked with had in obtaining employment. “The cafe provides a training space for young people to learn the soft skills required to work in the open labour market and has been a stepping stone for many into other employment, while being supported to manage the complex issues that impact their lives,” says Louise Farroway, Project Youth’s Early Engagement Manager.

Through a partnership with TAFE, Cafe Y has been able to provide invaluable training for local youth. “We have supported 146 young people to obtain a Certificate II in Hospitality and provided 10 young people with traineeships in Certificate III Hospitality through paid employment,” says Louise. “More than anything, we’ve tried to build a sense of community – bringing people together and sharing ideas, knowledge and experiences that help each of us respect and value the contribution of the people around us.”

Louise says support from the IMB Bank Community Foundation has been pivotal to Cafe Y’s success. “The ICF funding allowed the café to be furnished and set up,” she says. “The funds supported the purchase of our coffee machine, and obviously without that there wouldn’t be a cafe! The funds were also used to decorate the space and give us our unique vibe.”

Besides equipping at-risk youth with skills to enter the workforce, Louise cites receiving the 2017 Menai District Business Awards gong for best Cafe & Takeaway as a particularly proud moment for the Cafe Y team. “A true highlight of our time running the cafe,” says Louise, “and a testament to everyone’s hard work and commitment.”

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Helping build and strengthen our local communities since 1999

As a mutual bank, supporting our local communities is important to us. We believe in supporting projects that foster inclusion, encourage volunteering and create sustainable outcomes, enabling the communities around us to thrive.

Over the last 20 years, The IMB Bank Community Foundation has invested over $10 million to support over 700 community projects. We’re very proud of the projects we’ve supported and each year we marvel at the wonderful achievements of our funding recipients.

These diverse and meaningful grassroots programs are found wherever IMB Bank operates — Sydney, The Hunter, The Illawarra, Southern Highlands and Far South Coast NSW.

Previous funding recipients

Farmborough Heights Rural Fire Brigade

A thermal imaging camera will enable The Farmborough Heights Rural Fire Brigade’s volunteer members to fully interpret a fire scene providing accurate situational awareness both day and night. It will also assist in search and rescue operations at any time and in any light conditions.

Giralang/Kaleen Men's Shed

The Giralang/Kaleen Men's Shed offers all men access to a range of activities including a woodworking workshop, garden, physical activity such as walking, and social interaction. Members will be trained in first aid to support shed members if needed.

Girl Guides Association of NSW

Building on a century of adventure, fun and friendship, Girl Guides empowers girls and young women to grow into confident, self-respecting, responsible community members. The project will allow Girl Guides to offer abseiling, high ropes and rock-climbing experiences in the local region providing opportunities for the girls to grow, learn and have fun in the outdoors.

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Established in 1880, we have been helping people achieve their financial goals for 140 years and are rated by Forbes as one of the World’s Best Banks. We offer a full range of competitive banking, including home and personal lending, savings and transaction accounts, term deposits, business banking, and can arrange financial planning, insurance and travel products.

We provide simple and secure digital banking solutions online and on mobile, and members enjoy access to free automated phone and internet banking, and a team of professionals at our locally based contact centre. With a growing branch network throughout the Illawarra, Sydney, NSW South Coast, Newcastle/Hunter, the ACT and Melbourne, we have a lending specialist in every branch and a team of mobile lending specialists who will come to you.

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