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The recipe for success – Local investment for collective impact

You know something special is cooking when not-for-profit Junction Support Services and acclaimed local chef David Kapay join forces.

Junction’s steadfast commitment to community well-being has been bolstered by recently welcoming David Kapay, an internationally recognised chef, to create a new café with a difference in central Wodonga.

Close Collective Café will be Wodonga’s first social enterprise eatery, combining high-quality food with the opportunity for patrons to give back to their local community.

All profits generated from the cafe will be re-invested in local youth and community support programs through Junction Support Services, ensuring that every cup of coffee or meal contributes directly to supporting Junction’s crucial work in the community.

“We are thrilled to open the Close Collective Café, as it represents a significant step forward for our community’s commitment to creating impactful opportunities for youth in Wodonga,” says Junction Chief Executive Officer Megan Hanley.

“As a community service organisation, we are committed to innovation, and we believe that embracing innovative approaches can enhance the impact and sustainability of programs, ultimately leading to improved outcomes for the communities we work alongside.

“David is also passionate about building strong, thriving communities by investing in and empowering young people, so naturally we are thrilled to have him on board.”

Close Collective Café will initially offer weekday breakfast and lunch service between 7am and 3pm, “giving people the classics they love” with a regularly changing seasonal menu using fresh, locally sourced ingredients.

For David Kapay, the opportunity to give back to the community while sharing his passion for fresh, local, delicious produce was compelling.

“I started my apprenticeship in this kitchen back in ’99,” David Kapay says.

“Since those Grove days over 20 years ago, I’ve worked my way to the top, so returning to where it all started and giving back is very important. It completes the full circle.”

“I’m excited to sink my teeth into this new chapter and re-activate this Wodonga landmark.”

Close Collective Café breathes new life into the iconic 198a High Street building overlooking Woodland Grove in Central Wodonga.

“The name Close Collective acknowledges the work of Junction Support Services staff member Kate Close, who passed away in 2022 from cancer,” says Megan Hanley.

“Kate was a strong advocate for young people, and her passion is reflected in this new enterprise.

“Junction works day-to-day with youth who may find it challenging to gain work experience.

“Close Collective Café will become a platform for empowering and uplifting local youth by providing them with meaningful employment and skills development opportunities.

“The future vision is that the café will operate as a training ground for young people, offering them valuable experience in hospitality and business management.

“The joining of Junction’s expertise and David’s culinary experience and knowledge is a positive story for our community, and we are sure that under David’s invaluable guidance, this will assist our youth to build a brighter future.”

David Kapay, who worked alongside Jamie Oliver at Fifteen London, a non-profit restaurant that trained people from disadvantaged backgrounds, added: “Close Collective Café is about the bigger picture; the core values of the cafe and Junction really inspired my return to the kitchen.

“Together, we’re creating stronger communities by bringing people together through great food and by giving back and investing time empowering younger generations.”

Ms Hanley says Junction “is really calling on locals to get behind this initiative and invest for collective impact within our communities”.

Junction plans to open Close Collective Café in March.

Border Mail p5  – Close Collective Cafe

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Would You Like To Get Involved?

Mel Nicholson

TAC L2P Coordinator