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—–Photo from DineSmart Fundraising Dinner in Melbourne, on 12th April 2023.

Collaborative fundraising to train, employ, and up-skill vulnerable people

For one night only some of Australia’s top restaurateurs and chefs dished up a fun evening of top-class food, wine and fundraising. Bringing together six long-standing and loyal supporting partners in Victoria by Farmers Daughter, The Apollo, Izakaya Den, Supernormal, Dessous and Ladro, the night celebrated the connection between food and community that DineSmart has championed since 2003. To top it all off, the graduates at DineSmart community partner Scarf, were the front-of-house crew showcasing the incredible impact of training and employment programs.

raised through DineSmart December and the Fundraising Dinner


grants made to community partners


people supported through these grants

For many people in marginalised groups, their ability to attain and maintain job security is impacted by specific barriers they face like language barriers, discrimination, intergenerational trauma, or limited access to resources and opportunity. The pandemic has magnified the barriers of entry to the workforce and our wider society for many people living on the margins.

Additionally, the challenges of the pandemic also disrupted social and family networks, deepening their disadvantage and disconnection, and stifling life’s opportunities for young people. Reports find that “for people facing barriers to work including people with disability and people who didn’t finish year 12, finding a job is harder than ever before and rates of underemployment remain high.”

How funded programs are changing lives 

Job security is a key protection against homelessness, poverty, and hardship. Programs that provide up-skilling opportunities, support and mentorship to scaffold learning and training, or educational assistance to open new opportunities, break the cycle of disadvantage for at-risk and vulnerable people.

Refugees face extensive challenges in accessing skilled and sustainable work in Australia. The Settling Better Report by The Centre for Policy Development (Feb 2017) stated that two out of five recently arrived humanitarian entrants work as labourers, or in unskilled work. It was reported that only 17 percent of humanitarian entrants are transitioning into paid work after being in Australia for 18 months. Even three years after arrival, refugees are 3 times less likely to be employed and 2.8 times more likely to depend on government payments than the general population.

“Our mission at The Bread and Butter Project (TBBP) is to support refugees and humanitarian entrants into sustainable employment by providing workplace‐based training in artisan baking plus wrap‐around support – to enhance their prospects of successful resettlement, employment and a strong sense of belonging in Australia. Our project replaces extended welfare support with meaningful employment and promotes positive intergenerational impact for families.” – The Bread and Butter Project on Gadigal Country (NSW)

 “This grant will be used to support the operations of our paid, on-the-job, training and employment program for young people at-risk of or currently experiencing homelessness. The program hosts trainees at our For Change Co. venues and teaches key employability and hospitality skills which boost the competency and confidence of participants to going into long-term employment and to remain out of the cycle of homelessness.”

For Change Co in Naarm (VIC)

“Our Pre-employment training program empowers people seeking asylum and refugees with very limited English and work skills by providing intensive work-related literacy and job skills training, support and practical work experience that fast-tracks their access to fair work in Australia. The program program links participants to jobs such as cleaning, catering or property maintenance that generally have lower barriers to entry than more skilled roles like administration or skilled trades, which require good English language and high-level work skills.”

Friends of Refugees on Boon Wurrung Country (VIC)

 “Olive’s Lane provides training and entry level employment opportunities for disadvantaged young people facing challenges like homelessness, dyslexia, substance abuse and domestic violence. Olive’s Lane currently provides three young people paid workplace training. These young people range from 15-20 years of age and for most of them it is their first place of employment. Under the supervision of highly skilled professional barista’s they spend between 6-8 hours per week learning all aspects of barista training from pouring the perfect espresso to engaging in professional customer service.”

Olive’s Lane on Boonwurrung Country (VIC)

Fundraising Dinner grant recipients

Click on grant recipients to learn more.

To read all about the impact generated from DineSmart December – click here!

A massive thanks to everyone who attended, supported and made this grant making possible! Special shout out to our Sponsors partners, Cargo Crew, who dressed front and back of house so beautifully, and to all the partners that contributed to the night donating incredible products and experiences to be auctioned off.