Cafe offers youth a foot in the door

Serving up Mount Druitt: Baristas Susan Mansour and Sarah-Jane Skely are becoming familiar with regular customers at Citizens Cafe. The cheese and tomato sandwich is one of its best-sellers, says Sarah-Jane. Picture: Gene Ramirez

Serving up Mount Druitt: Baristas Susan Mansour and Sarah-Jane Skely are becoming familiar with regular customers at Citizens Cafe. The cheese and tomato sandwich is one of its best-sellers, says Sarah-Jane. Picture: Gene Ramirez

COFFEE and food aren't the only items drawing people to the reopened Mount Druitt Hub cafe.

Citizens Cafe is also cooking up opportunities for young people in the hospitality industry after it reopened under new management last week.

Mount Druitt PCYC will run the social enterprise in partnership with Mount Druitt TAFE on a three-year lease.

Jesuit Social Services ran a training cafe known as Ignite at the hub until August last year.

Karen Quinn was the Mount Druitt PCYC manager when Blacktown Council opened expressions of interest for tender late last year.

The PCYC's application was successful and she's now the cafe project manager.

"I felt the PCYC weren't meeting the needs of its mission of helping young people developing their skills and leadership as well as it should," Mrs Quinn said.

"Our dream is to run a cafe in or near every PCYC in NSW."

Citizens Cafe was in hot demand during its first week.

"It's brought life back into Mount Druitt Hub," Mrs Quinn said.

"It caters for all ages and cultures. The goal now is to make it self-sustainable."

She' s working on a healthy menu for people who take part in the free lunchtime fitness sessions daily in Dawson Mall.

Six males aged 15-20 are doing a hospitality course, where they spend three days at Mount Druitt TAFE and the other two days getting practical experience in the cafe.

A $6270 donation from the Commonwealth Bank covered course costs.

"I'm hoping local businesses . . . will take them on a trial basis at the end of the year," Mrs Quinn said.

Trading will extend to Saturdays if it proves financially viable.

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