Over the past few years, Alana Boan has become a fixture of HBNC.

Her beaming smile and warm words of welcome have helped make The Wandering Teapot Cafe a favourite coffee spot for many in the community. 

She has also become a familiar face at events, helping grow our catering business and getting a number of exciting new initiatives off the ground.

Alana is such a key part of The Wandering Teapot team, in fact, that it's easy to forget only a few short years ago, she was just starting her employment journey as a trainee.

Now, Alana not only has become a permanent member of the team, she helps train and mentor others embarking on the journey which, in her own words, completely changed her life.

Where it all began

Alana joined the HBNC team in 2020 as a hospitality trainee. A mum-of-three in the thick of financial hardship, she was no stranger to HBNC, having accessed emergency relief vouchers to help make ends meet.

When she saw a traineeship position advertised with the organisation's social enterprise, she saw it as an opportunity to start turning things around.

"It was a job that was advertised to the community’s most disadvantaged. After experiencing financial hardship myself over several years and not having much confidence I thought, 'This is my chance to really make something of myself'," Alana said.

"When I had come to HBNC over the years for emergency food relief there was always a really friendly and welcoming feeling throughout the centre, that gave you a wonderful sense of safety and support.

"I wanted to be an example for people who had maybe given up on life and show no matter where you come from, if you have the drive and ambition you can be whatever you want to be."

Indeed, drive and ambition have been emblematic of Alana's approach to work over the years.

Completing her traineeship at the height of COVID-19 in 2020, she let nothing stop her and approached each challenge with her trademark positivity and optimism.

Alana took opportunities in her stride, readily saying yes to projects that stretched her and helped her grow.

This included Intergenerational High Tea, an event aimed at bridging the generation gap and breaking down the barriers of loneliness and isolation.

Alana took this on board with such enthusiasm, the idea went on to win a Social Innovators Community Pitch Night Judges Award in 2021.

She has also been instrumental in launching weekly Indoor Carpet Bowls sessions at the Hervey Bay Community Centre, which she continues to arrange, while providing everyone's favourite coffee and afternoon tea through the cafe.

Taking chances builds skills and resilience

Over the years, Alana has taken on opportunities in other programs throughout HBNC, including the Australian Community Volunteer Visitors Scheme and Intensive Family Support.

This experience has helped build her ability to work with a range of people from different backgrounds.

Ultimately, the hospitality trade called her back home and she is now a much-loved member of the team that helped her get her start four years ago.

Alana takes great joy from helping train and mentor the next generation of trainees, especially as the program has now expanded significantly since she joined.

The Wandering Teapot continues to offer the 12 month traineeship Alana completed, while also partnering with the Queensland Government's Skilling Queenslanders for Work program, which delivers a Certificate II in Hospitality to around 12 students at a time.

Alana has the opportunity to share her skills with trainees and students through the cafe and catering business, and her hands-on experience makes this training all the more meaningful.

Show your support

Coming full circle from trainee to mentor, Alana's story truly is a testament to the life-changing nature of HBNC's job-training and employment readiness programs.

You can support our social enterprise by simply visiting The Wandering Teapot Cafe and buying a coffee and a bits to eat.

All profits from our cafe, catering and venue hire business are invested directly back into the programs we offer for the community's most vulnerable.

You can also donate to one of our worthy appeals to support the work we do in the community.

Donate to HBNC