Coffee as the stepping stone to a better future


Common Ground Dickson residents can grow their confidence, skills and qualifications through the new social enterprise café, 'Stepping Stone'.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr, Minister for Housing and Suburban Development Yvette Berry, and Minister for Homelessness Services Rebecca Vassarotti will today formally open Stepping Stone Café in Hawdon Place, Dickson.

Stepping Stone Café is more than just a café; it is a work integration social enterprise. It operates a sustainable food business while providing employment and on-the-job training, to women who face multiple barriers when seeking stable employment.

The café began operations in August 2023, completing the range of on-site services provided by Community Housing Canberra and YWCA Canberra to Common Ground residents.

Residents can apply for permanent or casual roles at the café. They gain an income, hands-on experience and acquire transferable skills and qualifications through registered training organisations.

Designed to be welcoming and supportive for migrant, refugee, or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, Stepping Stone offers flexible rostering, adaptive training tools, on-the-job trainers and a menu that reflects the cultural diversity of the staff.

Stepping Stone’s inaugural café in Strathnairn has been an incredible success and has employed over 28 women.

Stepping Stone Café at Dickson has so far offered 15 residents work, training and support for workforce integration.

Common Ground Dickson opened officially in October 2022 to provide long-term, stable housing and support services to 40 households.

Stepping Stone Café is located at Hawdon Place, Dickson and open to the public on Tuesdays through to Saturdays, from 8:30am – 3pm.

Quotes attributable to Homelessness Services Minister Rebecca Vassarotti:

"For women who have experienced homelessness, transitioning from being homeless to re-entering the job market can be an especially daunting journey.

“The confidence and skills women gain through the Stepping Stone Café is invaluable in improving the quality of their lives and improves their pathway to a job and financial stability.

“The opportunity it offers is particularly valuable in empowering participants with the optimism to overcome other personal challenges and fulfil their own goals.”