Building community one good coffee at a time
Building a sense of community in a growing school takes work. At Covenant Christian School on Sydney’s Northern Beaches offering a great cup of coffee has proven to be a powerful way of connecting busy people.
The idea behind ‘Café Covie’ is simple. The underutilised kitchen attached to the school hall was opened each Wednesday morning. The Café counter opens to a fenced basketball court which creates a safe place for toddlers. Café style chairs and tables were added, some toys for young kids, a good quality coffee machine and grinder and a whole lot of passion. (You should see the IT Computer Guru on the coffee machine!)
From humble beginnings Café Covie has become a central meeting place for the school. The Café serves parents, staff and senior students from before school til the end of recess. The Café is run by a very passionate, organised and friendly member of staff with a fantastic volunteer army made up of parents and friends. All parents are expected to serve in the school each term in some way so helping in the cafe is counted towards this. As well as Wednesday mornings the Café operates for special functions like Colin Buchannan Concerts, School Musicals, fundraising morning teas plus Orientation Mornings for new families. As a school they seek to engage and honour the parents in the life of the school. Café Covie is seen as helping the school in this vision.
As well as providing great coffee, hot chocolates, good food (at competitive prices) the Café provides opportunity for Maths, Business Studies and Hospitality students to practice their skills. The Café is also part of the Community Service and internal work experience programs.
Like many commercial cafes the school offers loyalty cards and pre-purchase cards as an incentive. Staff also receive a Birthday card offering them a free drink and treat. It is simple but powerful.
Interestingly the Café was started before the school even offered a canteen. Due to the success of the weekly Café a canteen was opened on Mondays and Fridays from the same kitchen. There are requests to open Café more often but they like keeping it as a treat in the middle of the week!
Drop in and see for yourself. The toasted pear and raspberry bread with butter is a real winner! Check out Cafe Covie
PS: personally I don’t even like coffee – even the good stuff – but I do love good community! Fortunately for me Cafe Covie makes a great hot chocolate.