Frankie’s Café, based at the Frankston South Community and Recreation Centre, is offering disadvantaged young people a way back into work and school. The program, run by Frankston City Council youth workers, provides hospitality training and support to young adults who have left mainstream education early.
Jarrah, 16, was part of the first group to join the youth training program, helping to get Frankie’s Cafe up and running. She left school three years ago to be a full time carer to her mum and brother.
“My mum and brother both have a severe form of muscular dystrophy. They were both given 20 years to live about five years ago and then my mum deteriorated ridiculously fast, so she has struggles. My brother started to get worse too, so I had to leave school to look after them,” Jarrah says.
Centre Coordinator, Kylie Galea says the program is as much about building self-esteem and ambition as it is about teaching basic hospitality skills.
“Frankie’s Café gives young people the opportunities they need, so they aren’t held back by the experiences they’ve had in their lives. It has a very holistic approach, in supporting young people as individuals.”
“Each week we went over what we would need in the café if we were starting from scratch. We had a budget and it covered everything down to the smallest details. We wrote inventory lists and priced everything against the budget. We looked at rent prices for a few places around the area as well. It was really insightful,” Jarrah says.
The café also offers a mobile option, ‘Frankie Goes’, available for hire. Program graduates are given first preference to work at the mobile café when it is hired out for community functions and events.
“I’m not the best with people, I get anxiety talking to people sometimes; (youth worker and trainer) Justin knew that, which is why he put me on front-of-house. All of us working Frankie Goes on the day were put in roles that made us uncomfortable. By the end of the day we were all killing it and it was great. It’s taken that anxiety away,” Jarrah says.
Frankie’s Café follows a successful pilot program run at the Frankston North Community Centre, now known as Café Creations. Councillor Steve Toms advocated for the second café to be established, after Café Creations launched in October 2018.
“I promoted the idea to Council based on residents’ suggestions and my own passion for youth engagement and youth funding. Our young people are our future and deserve to be given every opportunity to succeed in gaining new skills,” Cr Toms says.
“I still get calls from Justin and Kylie. They keep in touch and make sure I am still on track. I’m now getting back into school, I got a bit side-tracked for a while and stopped going. Once I go back to school I’m also going to look for part-time work in a café,” Jarrah says. For more information visit: frankston.vic.gov.au/frankiescafe
Image: From left, youth worker and trainer, Kylie Galea and program graduate, Jarrah.