News Article

Turning Disabilities into Differentabilities

   Monday 12th August, 2019

Meet the Member
Chapter 1:Noweyung Ltd

A bit of history to start…..
Noweyung Ltd is an Australian Disability Enterprise (ADE) in East Gippsland, established in 1954 by a group of passionate parents of people with disabilities.

At a time when resources and support for the disabled was nothing like it is now in present day 2019, this group worked extremely hard to raise awareness and funds to build a learning centre to provide a kind, supported environment for their children with disabilities to learn and grow to reach their full potential in adult life.

Fast forward to 2019, and the ethos of the organisation remains the same, with it growing into a modern, progressive hub that provides a range of support services to adults to develop skills, self confidence and the all important connection to a community.

Under the Noweyung brand, there is a selection of social and disability enterprises, including:
• the Cell’s Café in Nicholson Street, Bairnsdale
• Banksia Fine Foods
• Ace Total Maintenance

Food & Fibre Gippsland CEO Paul Griffin with Noweyung Enterprise Coordinator Chris Carr and Banksia Fine Foods Kitchen Manager Christie Seear

Noweyung has recently become a member with us and they plan to use their membership to network with businesses across the sector to build awareness for and engagement in their food related enterprises.

Go into Cells Café on any week day for a coffee and a muffin or a lunch featuring some of Gippsland’s renowned fresh produce and you’ll find a bustling positive atmosphere with a fantastic team of people who, through their jobs in the café, are able to enjoy stimulating and meaningful employment.

Everything is prepared fresh on the premises and wherever and whenever possible, the Cells Café team access as much seasonally fresh Gippsland produce as they can – to give back to the local economy and keep their supply chain in Gippsland.

As a new member, Noweyung is looking forward to maximising their opportunities to network, both in a digital and face to face environment. Within the two food related businesses, we see lots of opportunities for collaboration with a diverse range of our producers and manufacturers - from the big to the boutique operations.

Food& Fibre Gippsland CEO Paul Griffin checking out the Banksia Fine Foods range

Chris Carr is the Enterprise Coordinator, and he says that along with creating employment opportunities for the disabled, Noweyung also takes on a broader responsibility in food education.

“We play a role in educating people about nutrition and cooking, and how to do things safely in the kitchen, like to handle knives, hot pots and pans and how to prepare a basic meal”

“When we improve the knowledge and the confidence of people from the disability sector, we have the potential to move them one step closer to a new level of independence. If they can cook for themselves, they may be able to live out of their parent’s home, or in an assisted but largely independent environment “

Banksia Foods was established in 2005 and continues to be a game changer in creating a safe, supervised and stimulating environment for people of varying capabilities to be involved in every aspect of a food manufacturing process.

“We like to position it as the organisation is passionate about turning disabilities into differentabilites – and we look carefully at how we can best fit our people into every part of the end to end process of food manufacturing, whereas in years gone by, often employment opportunities for the disabled could be pigeonholed into menial, repetitive tasks that often resulted in boredom and disconnection”

Manufacturing days in the Banksia Fine Foods commercial kitchen at the rear of Cells Café are a busy and happy affair, with teams allocated tasks that are commensurate with their current ability and confidence, with everything done to Australian standards under the watchful and encouraging eye of Kitchen Manager Christie Seear.

And the final product is delicious 🙂 available at a number of stockists all over Gippsland.

The Banksia Fine Foods team also create a fantastic range of hampers that are perfect as a gift to a visitor, a client or just a gift to your own pantry!

The hampers can be custom made, with whatever bottled jars of Gippsland goodness you want to include, and then beautifully boxed and wrapped in a wide range of colours that might be the colours of your business brand, or just your favourite shade of pink ( or red, blue or yellow for that matter ! )- whatever you like, want or need, the friendly Banksia Fine Foods team are happy to make it happen.

Chris and Christie, together with the whole Noweyung team are excited (as are we !!) about the potential of being able to start conversations with fellow Food & Fibre Gippsland members who produce ingredients that can go into the wide range of condiments, sauces, jams and pastes that are created on a regular basis under the Banksia Fine Foods label.

“We have a commitment to maximizing the use of Australian ingredients, and if we can cut down any current food miles with anything that we have had to source from outside of Gippsland by replacing it with something from Gippsland, we are all for it “

The Noweyung team has had mixed success to date with being able to source all their base and flavour ingredients for their range from Gippsland, but we are planning to help join those dots for them by opening up conversations with possible members to collaborate with, and connecting them to Banksia Fine Foods.

The possibilities really are endless.

Food & Fibre Gippsland’s Dr Nicola Watts saw a wonderful positioning statement in a brand in the US and shared to the Banksia team, giving them a perfect suggested twist on the words for it to be used as a simple descriptor for the Gippsland disability and social enterprise:

The mantra of Greyston Bakery in New York is - “_We don’t hire people to bake brownies, we bake brownies to hire people.”_

The Banksia Foods version of that might just be: _We collaborate with Gippsland producers to prepare a delicious range of condiments, sauces, jams and pastes to provide local people living with a disability meaningful employment__**

Whatever version of the words that are chosen, it’s a win win all round, and together with Noweyung, we are looking forward to providing regular updates of how we are connecting Banksia Fine Foods and Cells Café with more producers across this wonderful diverse region of Gippsland.

When we act collaboratively with honesty and integrity, we all benefit, becoming stronger and more visible with increased social license that ultimately helps the prosperity and the people of Gippsland.

Stay tuned, the fun is only just beginning!