ACspresSO was founded by the Australian Community Support Organisation (ACSO). It assists people who have recently been released from prison transition back into the community. The ultimate goal is to prevent ex-prisoners from re-offending by providing them with employable skills and a stable support system.
ACspresSO trains people who are either still serving prison sentences or who need to do community work as part of their parole conditions post-release. It doesn’t discriminate. People who have committed all sorts of crimes – including theft, drug trafficking and murder – are given second chances.
Putting aside the social cause, this is still a cafe at heart. It serves Ethiopian single-origin coffee, or a creamy blend from Ormond’s Common Ground Roasters. The pulled pork in brioche with apple slaw is a hit with regular customers, as are the avocado smash and vegan roti wraps.
If you’re looking for a quiet place to work or read the paper, you’ll find solace from the relentless traffic of Hoddle and Victoria Street inside. The interior is quiet and cosy, with wooden floorboards and a functioning fireplace.
The exposed-brick walls are lined with artwork produced by ex-offenders. Feel free to ask the lively manager, Luis Rivera, about his compelling interpretation of the cafe’s centrepiece.