Staff at the Little Red Cafe in Wingham Plaza were excited to get a visit from a very important person on Wednesday, August 14.
A few weeks ago Member for Myall Lakes, Stephen Bromhead talked about the cafe in Parliament after the cafe was purchased by Taree's Dundaloo Support Services, leading to a visit from the NSW Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services, Gareth Ward,
Perhaps the most excited for the visit was the first of Dundaloo's clients to commence working at the cafe, Adam Polley.
Adam, who lives at home on a dairy farm in Kimbriki and catches the bus to work, works at the cafe two days a week cooking, plating, serving up the food, and cleaning up. To gain the skills needed to work in the cafe, Adam participated in Dundaloo Active's day program, learning about food preparation and cooking in Dundaloo's commercial kitchen on Wingham Road in Taree.
He is supported by community support worker Jane Bercini.
"I know Adam really likes cooking, and last week he made his first coffee. He did a really good job," Jane said. "Adam used to be quite shy. He still is at times but he has definitely got a log of confidence since he's been here.
"The staff here are good. They've been really helpful. They've been really supportive of Adam in the kitchen."
Adam gets paid award wages, the same as anybody else doing the same job would do.
"Nothing about it is tokenistic," Dundaloo's development manager Tracey Tattersall said.
Adam took time out of the kitchen to sit down and chat with Mr Ward and Mr Bromhead.
"I'm the first Minister for Disabilities to actually have a disability. I feel very strongly about the sector and Steve's been a terrific advocate in the Parliament for people with disabilities," Mr Ward said, "So I'm seeing some of the social enterprises run by people like Dundaloo and Valley Industries.
"I think the sign of a civil society is how it treats its vulnerable. And to see what is happening here, people like Adam realising opportunities, is absolutely a wonderful thing to see."