Overcoming barriers at Yoyo’s

Stefan Bradley

Robert Cubela and Rachel Macreadie have been serving up a storm at Yoyo's in Stretton Park, Maffra.

Sharing a building with Stretton Park Aged Care in Maffra, a new social enterprise aims to provide employment opportunities for people with disabilities and barriers through the power of good coffee and delicious food.

Yoyo’s at Stretton Park, a café, is a side hustle of Stratford-based disability support organisation, Overcoming Obstacles.

With the support of Central Gippsland Hospital and Stretton Park Aged Care, Yoyo’s opened in spring last year.

Open Monday to Friday from 9.30am-2.30pm, you can head on over for the coffees, focaccia, rice paper rolls, bagels, sandwiches, fruit salads and more yummy foods!

Rachel Macreadie, Manager at Yoyo’s Café, said the early months have been very positive.

“It’s not just for us, it’s a benefit to the residents as well to see the public coming and going and have that interaction. And the walk-up window has been wonderful,” Ms Macreadie said.

Yoyo’s at Stretton Park barista, Robert Cubela and Yoyo’s Manager, Rachel Macreadie. Photo: Stefan Bradley

“Staff here at Stretton have been very, very supportive. And it’s lovely to interact with the residents.”

Director of Overcoming Obstacles, Rachael Nicholls agreed. She hopes to see even more foot traffic so the café can remain sustainable.

“Jump on our socials, come in and have a coffee,” she said excitedly.

“Our aim with Yoyo’s is to increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities!”

Ms Macreadie said Overcoming Obstacles had seen a real need for their clients to gain meaningful employment.

“A lot of the (workers) have already been volunteering at Segue Café in Stratford and building their hospitality, food preparation and barista skills in that space,” she said.

“They’ve worked really hard on their resumes, job interviews…to gain employment in (Yoyo’s).

“They’re on proper wages, they’re earning and getting training. They’re working for them, they really are.”

“We really want to get it out in the public that we’re here. Being in an unusual setting, we’re not sort of first port of call that you think when you go to an aged care facility for a hot coffee, but we have some amazing drinks and a great selection of goodies for everybody.”

Plenty of delicious meal options at Yoyo’s! Photo: Contributed.

About eight Overcoming Obstacles clients have taken up employment at Yoyo’s.

Robert Cubela is one of the baristas at Yoyo’s, and he loves making coffee and sandwiches for customers.

“The staff (at Stretton Park) have been good and the (elderly) have been so kind to come up here to grab a coffee,” Mr Cubela said.

You can contact Yoyo’s and they can have your order ready for you when you reach the window. Photo: Stefan Bradley.

“Rice paper rolls are selling really well and the lattes and cappuccinos have been selling fast.”

It’s not his first stint at a café in Maffra and he’s now excited to train new people. You may have seen him at the now-closed Foster Place Café.

Robert Cubela is a skilled barista at Yoyo’s. Photo: Contributed.

Ms Nicholls said Overcoming Obstacles has partnerships with other businesses in the community, allowing training for those who may not like hospitality.

“So if it’s not café skills that (clients) want to learn…there are other businesses that can teach employment skills,” she said.

If you’d like to be part of Yoyo’s Café, phone 0421811033.

Skye Nielsen-Vold – barista, café and food preparation at Yoyo’s. Photo: Contributed