Social enterprise                 cafe dropped

September 21st, 2020Social enterprise cafe dropped

THE total project of The Rex's Hepburn Hub has hit more than $13 million after a shortfall comprised of $221,040 to ensure the building is watertight and another $518,960 "to fund all the works required to complete the project".

The cost to finish The Rex, a former movie theatre in Vincent Street, Daylesford, is now more than $13 million. But despite the amount being spent on the project, the long-mooted social enterprise cafe was dropped at last week’s council meeting.
A Hepburn Shire Council media release said in order to meet the requirements of the State Government Library Funding, and to deliver an exceptional new library for the Daylesford community, the Social Enterprise Café at the Hepburn Hub at The Rex had to be removed from the project.
“Other factors that supported the decision to remove the café included the lack of funding for the fit-out of the café and no interest from community groups to run the café. As a result of removing the café from the project scope, the library is bigger and will include a youth space. Council will be developing a youth strategy over the coming 12 months and will be looking for ideas and feedback from the community, especially our youth, in its development.”
A council media release in March 2017 said incorporating a community theatre into The Rex facility, “and the proposal to have a social enterprise café, will make this a true community building”.
Daylesford teenager Eden Clifford queried the move with an email sending a question to council and The Local saying he had been excited along with many other young people to have funding set aside for the social enterprise café.
“We could all hang and work alongside each other and get learning and be paid. (But) council took this away. How can dollars go to something else when they were meant for us? How can it go to stuff we already have? We don’t need a community space, we need a youth space. A happy fun one.
“I wish you could all remember what being young was about, no offence but old people don’t help us. Kyneton has the Social Foundry, friggin’ awesome, and Albury Council has the Retro Lane Café, both are successes that bring dollars and kudos.”
Kyneton’s Social Foundry’s website says: “We seek to mentor and share life-skills to young people right here in our local community. We call these people our friends, and believe they have the potential to change the world. We focus on hospitality, conservation land management, and woodworking. We’re training and equipping our friends to reconnect and sow good into our local communities…”
Albury City’s websites says its Retro Lane Café supports social enterprise activities, sourcing environmental and ethical Vegware packaging that is vegetable based and compostable, with a strong focus on separating waste and recycling. The cafe is also aligned with Love Food Hate Waste and the Trim Bin Program.
“The cafe aims to make a social difference to young people. This includes programs such as regular Friday night gigs, school holiday and after school programs, homework and study assistance, arts and performance workshops, résumé writing, job seeking skills and much more.”
Meanwhile, Hepburn Shire Council last week endorsed the awarding of the building contract to complete works on the Hepburn Hub at The Rex project to J Hutchinson Pty Ltd.
Council CEO Evan King said Hutchinson was based out of Melbourne and was considered to provide the best overall value for council and the community with proven experience and quality projects.
“They will spend 80 per cent on regional contractors and suppliers and have committed to providing opportunities for youth in the region and will encourage apprentices and trainees to be hired on the project,” he said.
“They will coordinate a site tour for local schools in the area as well as engaging the local community in the form of work experience. They are also a member of Supply Nation; Australia’s largest national directory of verified Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses. Through Supply Nation we are able to identify local indigenous businesses that could be engaged on the project.”

Words: Donna Kelly

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