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Can Do Café opens its doors

Hayden Dixon’s customers are always greeted with a big smile when they come in for their coffee at Can Do Café.

“On Tuesday’s it’s mainly the same people who come in, and they just order the same thing they usually do,” he says.

Hayden lives with a traumatic brain injury resulting in lowered emotional intelligence, increased anxiety and concrete thinking – but that doesn’t hold him back at the café.

Can Do Café recently opened in front of the Art Metro studio on Papanui Rd and has given people like Hayden the chance to use their skills in a job and do something they enjoy.

The café was started by successful social enterprise Can Do Catering – a company set up by the Laura Fergusson Trust in 2015 to employ people with disabilities who might struggle to get employment  due to their physical impairments and care needs.

Laura Fergusson Trust Household Services manager Vicky says it was incredible to see the café come to life.

“Right in the beginning, we knew our big picture would be a café. Everything was focused on Can Do Catering itself, and then at the end of last year our Chief Executive Kathryn and I were talking about It and she came to me a few weeks later saying Art Metro had a space  we could use if we want to’.”

She says working in the café has helped Hayden come out of his shell and learn new skills; his morning duties now include setting up the tables, sweeping the front porch, making coffees and items of food for the cabinet – not forgetting his service with a smile.

“Hayden had always been in our mind as our first employee.  He was very shy to start off with, but he just comes in now and you don’t have to ask him to do anything, he just goes and does it,” she says.

“We are so proud of him, and all of the amazing employees at Can Do.”

Can Do Café is located at Art Metro, 465 Papanui Rd. Their opening hours are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 8:30am-3pm, and Wednesday 8:30am-12pm.