Support for local cafes impacted by lockdowns

Some of our valued hospitality clients across metropolitan Melbourne have been given a helping hand through our ‘MatchWorks in the Community’ grant program.

Lockdown 5.0 has been incredibly challenging for the Victorian hospitality industry, especially across Metro Melbourne. Many café’s and restaurants continue to adapt their operations in a bid to survive. Yet this fifth wave has brought more stress than ever for small business owners like Sue Cordina from Red Relish Café.

“It’s been an absolute struggle to keep changing from sit-in to takeaway, to sit-in and back to takeaway,” Sue said.

“People are afraid to leave their homes so it takes a long time to get business back to where it was pre-lockdown. It’s been a really difficult time for small business.”

Sue’s experience has been echoed by many other hospitality businesses that we work with. So our metropolitan Melbourne teams recently banded together to give a helping hand to as many local cafe’s as possible through our ‘MatchWorks in the Community’ grant program. For Red Relish, this support enabled them to provide 15 free meals to locals struggling to feed themselves and their family.

Red Relish Cafe owner, Sue Cordina (centre) with Stana Lamonica from MatchWorks (left) and Red Relish employee, Victoria.

“Some of our customers come in and have just been laid off, and don’t know how they’re going to pay their mortgage or put food on the table,” Sue said.

“Others you would never know that they’re struggling. They’re too proud to ask for help so we’ve had several friends come in on their behalf to request a meal.

“One customer sent me a photo of her children’s faces after she told them they were having a hot meal instead of 2 minute noodles for dinner. They were so thankful but it’s bitter sweet. You know you have helped someone but it’s sad that people are struggling so much.”

MatchWorks General Manager, Nicole Mattsson said these grants were an important way to give back to the communities we work within.

“This industry has been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic and restrictions, so these grants are our way of giving a little back to our valued clients who are doing it tough,” Nicole said.

“So far we’ve been able to support 10 local cafes across Metro Melbourne, and we have more support to come.” 

‘Hospitality Helping Hand’ is one of many MatchWorks grant initiatives given to community businesses and organisations across Australia in recent times. More ‘MatchWorks in the Community’ stories are featured below.