Home Cool Company Awards 2012 Meet STREAT, Anthill 2012 Cool Company Award Finalist

Meet STREAT, Anthill 2012 Cool Company Award Finalist [Social Capitalist Category]

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What are the Anthill Cool Company Awards?

The Cool Company Awards were launched in 2006 as a way for Anthill to acknowledge and celebrate Australian organisations that are doing things differently to bring about positive change. Cool Companies stay one step ahead of the rest. They breed leaders who are rule-makers and rule-breakers. They are trend-setters in attitude and action. Quite simply, they are … cool! More.

STREAT

Company: STREAT
Website: streat.com.au
State: VIC
Category: Social Capitalist

Not too long ago, the idea that one could change the world through their coffee purchases seemed, on the surface, pretty absurd. Then came the Fair Trade movement and the brewing of a global consciousness, making the developing world more present with each sip.

STREAT, the cafe founded by Rebecca Scott and Kate Barrelle, goes yet a step further — or rather, a step closer, by addressing the communities surrounding the cafes themselves.

This hybrid charity/business recruits, by its own admission, the least employable people in the labour pool: homeless youth. Many are kids from broken homes, who have fled domestic abuse, or are recovering from addiction. During their time with STREAT (average tenure is six months), they learn the ins and outs of the hospitality industry and get to share their compelling stories of redemption with patrons, before ‘graduating’ and transitioning to steady external employment.

STREAT’s three inner Melbourne shops have hired 54 young people from disadvantaged backgrounds since the first cafe opened in 2009. They have filled over 300,000 orders of coffee, soups and sandwiches in that space of time.

Scott, the CEO, says that the customer’s bonds with the staff are unmistakable: “82% of our customers visit STREAT at least 2-3 times a week and if they start as a convenience customer, they usually shift to also being highly engaged by the mission over time.”

It’s a testament to the rewards of that mission that, despite the inherent risks — and essentially asking trainers to take on more responsibilities for no extra pay — the community has returned the love.

The STREAT team don’t expect homelessness to vanish overnight. They do hope to take advantage of their unique status as a scalable social enterprise to broaden the fight. The magic number in their cross hairs: 1,095. It looks curious, until you do the maths: that’s three square meals times 365 days of the year.

“Our team are striving for the day when we can sit down to every meal knowing that collectively we’re helping stop homelessness and injustice for another young person,” Scott affirms.

We’ll happily sip to that.

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