Soul Cafe was established in 2003 to serve hot meals free of charge to disadvantaged and highly vulnerable people of the Newcastle region. Today, Soul Cafe provides hundreds of free sit-down and takeaway meals each week.
However, Soul Cafe’s purpose is to do more than just serve a nourishing, delicious meal. They also serve a side dish of kindness, care and hope.
The ultimate mission of Soul Cafe is to see vulnerable guests placed on a path towards increased safety, health, and purpose. They aim to lift people up that are less fortunate to a better standard of living through a comprehensive approach that helps them work through their issues and re-engage with our community.
Soul Cafe provides a ‘one-stop shop’ or, as CEO Rick Prosser describes it, “a ‘convergence of services’ for those in need. These services include recovery programs, medical clinics and outreach services like Centrelink, disability services, legal services, and domestic violence services – that many clients would be unable to navigate on their own.”
Soul Café serves more than 30,000 meals and food care packs a year, but a meal is also the means to start a conversation and build trust.
“We realised we needed some specialised help on our team at Soul Cafe and that’s where our Newcastle Mental Health Clinician comes in,” Rick says.
As a major sponsor, Port Waratah continued its partnership with Soul Café to continue the delivery of Soul Café’s Mental Health Clinic, offering support to many of their guests each week.
“This role would not exist without Port Waratah, and to have this specialist care on hand has literally saved lives.”
Like many enterprises throughout the pandemic, Soul Café has adapted the way they provide their services to clients by taking it to the streets. The ‘Street Team’ provided conversations on the street as they continued to serve their signature meals in a takeaway format, which also enables clients and guests to continue to access the vital mental health support service.