Banjo’s Bakery Cafe fundraises for mental health awareness

By Sarah Stowe | 15 Sep 2020 View comments

This September, Banjo’s Bakery Café will fundraise for mental health awareness, pushing the message that  a conversation in a safe space can be the first step towards improving mental health.

The franchise chain is once again linking with positive mental health organisation SPEAK UP! Stay ChatTY.

Banjo’s has been fundraising for the cause for five years. In 2020 the goal is to raise more than $35,000 for the cause by donating 50 cents from the sale of every large coffee in the chain’s Tasmanian stores.

Banjo’s Bakery boss MD Jessica Saxby told Inside Franchise Business Executive the link with SPEAK UP! Stay ChatTY  is personal.

“A few years ago we had two suicides in our network in 12 months and we decided to put more energy into mental health awareness.”

Saxby explains field managers are the first sounding base in helping franchisees deal with mental health challenges, trying to get franchisees to speak about what’s going on.

The next step is to ask them to speak with the company’s external HR, to undertake a face-to-face meeting or counselling session. Franchisees are encouraged to get in touch with Beyond Blue or Lifeline.

The founder of SPEAK UP! Stay ChatTY, Mitch McPherson, is a regular presenter at Banjo’s conferences where he holds workshops and speaks to management teams, store team and franchisees about the topic.

The charity works to promote positive mental health and prevent suicide by encouraging conversations about mental health and seeking help when it is needed.

Banjo’s communicates regularlay with its network about available mental health resources.

In the community, franchisees and staff are taking the message to customers.

Saxby says the initiative on mental health is being well received.

We’ve had great feedback, overwhelming support that we are getting behind it. 

“Banjo’s is a family-owned business and we pride ourselves on the tight knit community we have created, which is why we believe in creating open conversation and connection to help improve the mental health of Australians. A small conversation can make a difference in someone’s life.”

This year, the cafe chain aims to boost its efforts and raise more than the impressive $31,971 raised last year. 

McPherson said the collaboration is particularly important in light of the impact the pandemic has had on many Australians.  

“The ‘new normal’ looks different for everyone as we navigate the changes now in place as a result of the pandemic. Just because we’re physically distant from each other, doesn’t mean we can’t make important  connections emotionally,” he said. 

“It’s important to remind ourselves that kindness, compassion and patience can go a long way. We  encourage you to take the time to grab a coffee, sit down and have a conversation with someone that you  care about.”

First joining forces with Stay ChatTY in 2015, Banjo’s Bakery Café has raised $138,487 over their five-year  partnership, selling over 63,942 large coffees alone last year to encourage meaningful conversations around  mental health.  

The donation promotion will run from Tuesday 1 September to Wednesday 30 September 2020 at all  Banjo’s Bakery Café stores in Tasmania and the Warana store on the Sunshine Coast.