Release type: Media Release


New cafe assists people with a disability into employment


The Hon Kate Ellis MP
Minister for Employment Participation
Minister for Child Care

Joint media release with

The Hon Mark Butler MPMinister for Mental Health and Ageing

The Hon Richard Marles MPMember for Corio

The Geelong community is set to benefit from an innovative new social enterprise cafe assisting up to 150 people with a mental illness into employment and training.

Minister for Employment Participation and Child Care Kate Ellis, today announced the Expanding the MadCap Cafe project to assist people with disability in Geelong, Victoria.

“The MadCap Cafe is a Melbourne not-for-profit initiative, which has now been expanded to provide access to work training, mentoring and placement support in Geelong,” Ms Ellis said.

“This project will establish the first franchised MadCap Cafe creating a not-for-profit franchising model, which can be replicated to other areas with low employment for people struggling with mental illness.

Pathways Rehabilitation and Support Services Ltd will receive $667,000 from the Australian Government’s Innovation Fund to run this project.

Member for Corio, Richard Marles welcomed the new venture to Geelong, and said that he is excited about benefits for the local community.

“The project will build on the existing expertise and local knowledge of Pathways Rehabilitation and Support Services Ltd,” Mr Marles said.

“Pathways already help more than 900 people experiencing mental illness each year, with philosophies and work practices that embrace recovery and social inclusion. The new project will help more of the Geelong’s community receive employment and training support.”

Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Mark Butler said that initiatives like the Mad Cap Cafe are vital in assisting people with mental illness to get back into the workforce.

“Active involvement in work is a key component in ensuring good mental health as it aids recovery and has strong therapeutic value - even for those with chronic and persistent mental health conditions.

“The reality is that the benefits and dignity that come with having a good job are unparalleled,” Minister Butler said.

“Projects like this one exemplify the Government’s commitment to Social Inclusion by supporting innovative approaches that help disadvantaged job seekers find and retain employment,” Ms Ellis said.

This funding is part of the third round of the $41 million Innovation Fund grants program, which aims to address the needs of the most disadvantaged job seekers through projects that foster innovative solutions to employment barriers.

For more information on the Innovation Fund, visit