New Social Project Kafe Konnect Opens in Wexford
Minister of State at the Department of Justice James Browne was delighted to attend the opening of Kafe Konnect in the Spawell Centre in Wexford Town. Kafe Konnect is a social café which will provide employment to those who have found it difficult to access the labour market as a result of prior criminal convictions, or who are in recovery from addiction.
The project aims to support people to make sustainable changes in their lives, to move away from criminality and substance misuse, and regain stability in their lives. Kafe Konnect provides training and real work experience in a range of hospitality related roles including chefs, cooks, pastry chefs, baristas, wait staff, cashiers, kitchen support staff and café management.
Its establishment has been supported by a €50,000 grant from the Kick Start Probation Service fund and it is under the auspices of the Cornmarket Project, a Probation Service funded Community Based Project based in Wexford.
Speaking at the launch event, Minister Browne said, “as a Social Enterprise Community Café, Kafe Konnect will give those who work here an opportunity to engage in training while continuing their journey away from addiction and criminality. It will focus towards creating more fulfilling and productive lives for those involved as responsible members of their communities.”
“By educating and providing people with opportunities to grow and develop new skills, they can bring out in to the job market it will, I have no doubt, provide that important bridge to finding meaningful employment.”
The opening of this café is in keeping with the Department of Justice’s ‘Working to Change – Social Enterprise and Employment Strategy 2021 – 2023’. Published in late 2020, the strategy sets out the department’s direction for supporting employment options for people with convictions by working to remove systemic barriers that can inhibit sustainable change.
The Strategy builds on a solid foundation of employment supports already in place across the criminal justice sector and is a collaboration between the Probation Service, the Irish Prison Service, and the Department of Justice.
Minister Browne continued, “the Working to Change Strategy strives to create a flexible, responsive system that prepares people with criminal histories for the working environment and ensures that they have the skills and talents required for identified labour shortages now and into the future, and not just at entry-level positions. If a person is employed, they are more likely to be able to build positive relationships and stable routines and this is why initiatives such as Kafe Konnect are so important.”
Kafe Konnect will be open five days a week Monday to Friday from 9.30am to 4.30pm and offers breakfast, lunch and a range of delicious all day snacks. All food is prepared following a simple policy of offering great food that is fresh, locally sourced and seasonal.