Canice’s Kitchen opens door to employment and training

Article by CCI Giving

18 October 2022

Canice’s Kitchen, an inner Sydney grassroots charity, connects with communities experiencing hardship, and for 30 years has helped individuals to manage homelessness or social exclusion. During Covid lockdowns, as with many organisations, they were forced to adapt their services so operations could continue. It was not straightforward, but they continued to safely prepare and deliver meals, and provide other vital services.

Many people across the country lost part-time work or volunteering roles because of Covid restrictions, including some within Canice’s community. The Community Support Program responded by assisting with practical skills training to support individuals in their community return to employment or volunteering.

Canice’s original program’s objective was a return to employment, but it soon broadened and became more flexible to incorporate other goals. Safe housing and self-esteem, among a myriad of necessities, are fundamental building blocks needing to be addressed before, or in tandem, with employment ambitions. In this sense, Canice’s offers more than employment support services. Through consistency and building trust, a program coach guides and supports individuals towards work goals and permanent housing. Canice’s program helps people to reconnect with their family and fosters awareness of mental health concerns and difficulties.

Each week, over 10 months, a qualified Life Coach and Employment Trainer provides mentorship, while a commercial chef also shares their expertise and time. Helping people to align skills development with those required in their choice of industry supports aspirations and planning for the future. It also builds inclusiveness and confidence for a cohort of Sydney’s most vulnerable community.

CCI Giving Foundation Manager, Lauren Clair, was so pleased Canice’s received support for their work in Round 7 of the Communities Taking Steps grants program.

“It is an extraordinary initiative because whether somebody is experiencing life without a permanent address, or has left traumatic and violent domestic circumstances, they have access to regular support that can help them to find employment opportunities. Creating a resume and preparing to meet a prospective employer is only a small part of program how they can benefit from this initiative.”

“This program helps participants to prepare for employment in a practical way. Participants can achieve a Certificate of Accomplishment in Communication, Teamwork, Safe Food Handling, and Customer Service. Interview role play is extremely useful in work readiness just as haircuts and make-up are, and all these all available. It is the details that make a difference, a social media photo, appropriate interview attire. CCI Giving is supporting this program because it has a clear objective and a compelling reason for individuals to take part.”   

Carrie Deane is the Community Manager at Canice’s Kitchen and wants to ensure there are sustainable outcomes for her community. The programs scope includes fostering collaboration between Canice’s and community participants and partnerships with supporting agencies. Tech start-up Canva is one partners that provides community members hands-on training.

“We have built strong relationships and trust with our marginalised communities, and with groups who are working for positive social change. Ours is a free program. We know that practical support and training will benefit those who want to return to employment but who find taking the first steps forward somewhat hard.”

“Volunteers and grants certainly help us to keep our work going; funds being important to creating positive change that could open the door to long-term employment opportunities. I am excited to share the news that we are open to registering new candidates, and that we now have 8 confirmed participants.”

The Community Support Program has assisted people experiencing ongoing homelessness with the challenge of dealing with unhealthy or unsafe living conditions, and a long-term unemployment outlook. Through Canice’s program, many have received support for getting back into paid work, including one person who was able to overcome a decade of unemployment. One of the program’s standout successes is helping people into secure housing and engaging members of this inner Sydney community with a mental health training program.