The Melbourne café creating a more inclusive world

All Things Equal
All Things Equal
Clare Kelly
by Clare Kelly
5 April 2021
All Things Equal is situated in the coffee loving enclave of Balaclava and is the new place where students graduating from Giant Steps (a specialist school for children with profound autism) are finding employment, mentorship, and life changing experiences.

Amanda Coombs is a close friend of Virgin Unite and a member of our Constellation community. Amanda attended a Virgin Unite gathering on Necker Island with Igniting Change in early 2020 and since then Amanda has launched a new café in Melbourne, All Things Equal café, which is committed to creating life changing opportunities for young people with a disability.

The All Things Equal café is a part of an ongoing collaboration between Flying Fox, an organisation building connections between people with a disability and the local community, and Giant Steps.

After several graduating students from Giant Steps expressed interest in finding a part time job in hospitality, parents worked to make their wish a reality. Amanda Coombs (Chair of Flying Fox, Founder of Giant Steps, and devoted disability campaigner) assisted the teams to open a café for purpose – a welcoming space where employees, buddies, and customers can come together to eat toast, drink coffee, have fun and be social.

All Things Equal
All Things Equal

All Things Equal opened its doors in February this year and since then it has been serving up smiles and smoothies between 7am and 3pm, every Tuesday through Sunday.

"The Flying Fox and Giant Steps partnership is a story of collaboration with far-reaching outcomes, including sharing staff, board members, participants and key learnings. The involvement of the entire community in this coffee making and avo-smashing enterprise will ensure that many hands come together to make light work in the pursuit of inclusion and fun,” said Dean Cohen, Founder of Flying Fox.

Buddies and mentors from Flying Fox are guiding graduates through their shifts at the café. Each new employee is given a job designed to best suit their individual interests and personalities, be it barista-ing, dishwashing, or cookie making – and for those that prefer a quieter environment, the café ‘close’ shift.

All Things Equal
All Things Equal

Head of Giant Steps College, Andy Smith, said: “All Things Equal allows our participants to truly feel equal. The welcoming environment, flexible nature and inclusive energy of the café and its staff has allowed our participants to gain invaluable work experience and achieve success within the wider community.”

On top of the amazing coffee, breakfasts, location and purposeful employment opportunities, the menu art is designed by members of Arts Project Australia – a studio supporting artists with intellectual disabilities and advocating for inclusion within contemporary art.

Please show All Things Equal some love online and if you are lucky enough to live close by, drop in and support the team’s passion for providing purposeful opportunities for people with a disability.