Reservoir’s Birds and Beans Cafe offers breakfast, lunch and training

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Students in Reservoir can ease into hospitality work at the Birds & Beans Community Training Café, thanks to a funding injection from the Victorian government.

The team at the Birds and Beans Cafe is interested in more than just feeding people.

The community training cafe in Melbourne’s northern suburb of Reservoir is also fuelling students’ aspirations of a career in hospitality.

The cafe is run by the Reservoir Neighbourhood House, and its executive officer, Angie Davidson, was thrilled to watch an almost $73,000 extension that will create more space for trainees, come to life.

The extension means the cafe can develop new programs for local youth and disadvantaged members of the community. It can also extend its opening hours to include weekends and expand its existing programs and activities.

The outdoor area was also redesigned to encourage more people to come, relax and support the cafe. The gardens will also be improved through funding from the program in October 2022.

“I’m excited about the opportunity we have for engaging not only young people, but our broader local community,” Angie said.

The cafe hosts high school students as part of the School-Based Apprenticeship and Training program.

Preston High School year 9 student Mia joined the program after completing three terms at Linking Education and Personal Development (LEAP) through Austin School in Heidelberg – a program designed to help students struggling with disengagement at school.

“I was suffering high anxiety since the start of the pandemic which coincided with the beginning of high school,” Mia said.

“Mum is on the Reservoir Neighbourhood House Board and knew how wonderfully supportive they are and thought I might like to work at the cafe. And I love it!”

Thanks to $60,000 Suburban Revitalisation funding through the Revitalising Reservoir program, and a contribution of $13,000 from Reservoir Neighbourhood House, the café extension was completed in May 2022.

“We hope the vibrant new space will attract more customers, which will mean we will be able to give back to the community through pay-it-forward actions, what a magical thought,” Angie added.

“People really care about and support other people in Reservoir. We see it so often.

“It’s at the heart of everything we aspire to.”