The Hobart

Hamlet Cafe’s Emily Briffa

by Stephanie Williams
Hamlet Cafe’s Emily Briffa

Hamlet Cafe has been part of the Hobart hospo landscape since February 2016 and delivers targeted training and work readiness skills in order to tackle the barriers which prevent disadvantaged Tasmanians from participating in work and community life. Since then, founder Emily Briffa has helped to provide over 22,000 hours of work experience to over 260 Tasmanians. 

Where in Hobart do you live? West Hobart. 

What’s the best thing about Hobart? Being so close to nature. 

And the worst? The lack of public transport. 

Tell us a little about your work? Hamlet is a registered charity with a mission to empower people to live meaningful lives in their community. We operate a social enterprise, Hamlet Cafe, where we deliver on the job work experience and training opportunities to people facing barriers to employment. 

I’m inspired by… All of our participants. I think admitting you need help can be really difficult so I am always inspired when I see them walk through the doors each day. 

How did you respond to the Covid-19 pandemic at Hamlet and how are things going now? We put our work experience program on hold. As we are working with vulnerable community members our top priority is always their safety so we paused the program in the cafe and started delivering some of our training online. We were operating as a takeaway only venue and we also started our Hamlet at Home ‘take ’n bake’ dinners, which were really successful thanks to our amazing customers. Things are starting to return to a sense of normal for us which is really nice, our participants have slowly started coming back into the cafe for training, albeit with reduced numbers. Our catering arm still hasn’t quite picked up again and I think we have a way to go here but we are all just really happy to still be able to open the doors each day and do what we love. 

How important are businesses like yours to Hobart? I think businesses like Hamlet are incredibly important to Hobart. Prior to COVID, Hobart had been identified as a youth unemployment hotspot with rates as high as 16.9% – these figures are set to soar due to COVID. I think Hamlet provides essential support and training to young people who are struggling to get their foot in the door. Hamlet also creates a real sense of community for our participants and our customers. I think that’s really important for people, especially in the world we are living in now. 

Are there any covid things that have become part of Hamlet that you’ll keep beyond the immediate pandemic? We received funding from the State Government to start preparing meals for Hobart City Mission’s food relief program and I would really like to see this continue in the future, especially when things like job keeper and job seeker payments start to drop off at the end of September. 

Where’s your favourite Hobart eatery? Hamlet obviously, but when I’m not here you can usually find me at Tom McHugos. They have an excellent wine list which changes pretty regularly. 

Guilty pleasure? I’ve been known to watch some pretty bad television! 

Favourite team? Richmond Tigers. 

I’d like to travel to… Everywhere and anywhere but until that’s allowed again there’s still a lot of Tassie I am yet to explore. 

If I didn’t live in Hobart I’d live… Possibly Melbourne. My whole family is there and I miss being close to them. Not sure I could do big city life again though. 

Where to next? A lot is happening at Hamlet at the moment and I am really excited to see what the future has in store for us. 

Quote to live by? “The effect you have on others is the most valuable currency there is.” 

Visit Hamlet at 40 Molle St, Hobart. 

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September 2021

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