The Hills Daily Grind: Double Shot

Story and photos by Carmel Liddell

THE DAILY GRIND plays a key role in Hills Community Aid’s Youth Up-Skill programme YSUp (Wise up), by serving a dual purpose: it provides information on HCA services and, barista training for volunteers under thirty who have been long-term unemployed, or have disabilities. In effect, The Hills Daily Grind delivers the perfect double shot, a smooth blend of caffeine and kindness, from a mobile van.

The social enterprise project was developed by HCA’s team in response to community wants and needs. By combining the sale of coffee with training in an occupation that’s definitely ‘on trend’, the HCA created its barista programme. (Barista, the Italian word for ‘bartender’, refers to a person who prepares and serves espresso-based coffee drinks.) Then, after much planning, and an $11,000 donation from The Hills Masonic Lodge, the Hills Daily Grind van hit the road. The van’s first public appearance was in Bella Vista Farm Park on Australia Day, 2015 and within a year, the YSUp Daily Grind project was deemed so successful it won The Hills Australia Day Award, ‘Excellence in Social Enterprise’, for 2016.

This YSUp initiative aims to ‘upskill’ young people for employment. Bearing that in mind, The Daily Grind mobile van provides all their volunteers with training, practical skills and guidance, in a well- supported environment. Learning to prepare and serve espresso coffee, handling money and interacting with the general public are valuable, real industry experiences which have led some, to permanent employment. Benefitting from the scheme by ‘wising up’ is busy mother of five, Crystal, who began volunteering at HCA four years ago. For the past twelve months, Crystal has been employed as The Daily Grind’s official – Barista and Trainer.

Today, the Daily Grind van continues to be a familiar, welcome sight on its regular runs through the Hills and at special events. All profits are poured back into the service, so keep an eye out for that little white van. Follow the aroma. Admire the frothed micro-foam and latte art. Support the Hills Daily Grind programme by ordering an espresso, macchiato, cappuccino or flat white. But wait. How’s the coffee? Bean there – done that – excellent!