Establishment of a social enterprise from people with mental health problems. Organization of cultures events and training for people from vulnerable groups.
“Café Gefyres” is a Social Cooperative Enterprise for the Inclusion of Vulnerable Groups. The Social Cooperative Enterprise (SCE) is an urban cooperative union with a social purpose and limited liability of its members, which by law has a commercial status. It is a business equitably governed by its members, whose function depends on the pursuit of collective benefit, while profits resulting from its activities only serve social interests. “Café Gefyres” aims at integrating people belonging to vulnerable groups, such as people with mental health problems, into the local economic and social life. The business was envisioned by the Association for Mental Health of Patras, and its function is to help address the problem of unemployment faced by people with mental health problems and to contribute, through education and offer of employment, to the psychosocial restoration and reduction of stigma associated with mental illness.

Resources needed

The SCE is managed by a 5-member board. Initial contributor has been the VINCI company. Many volunteers have contributed to the operation and sustainability of café, including other private companies, clubs, organizations, local authorities, artists and a large number of individuals.

Evidence of success

SCE “Café Gefyres” is not just a cafeteria but a space of intense cultural & social activity. Over 170 events have been held there so far, including music evenings, book presentations, photo exhibitions, theatrical events, documentary presentations, children's activities. It is also a place of education&preparation for the labor market for this particular target group; over the last year, 17 mentally ill people who were employed as trainees in the café have been enrolled in educational programs

Difficulties encountered

1.Patras is a city that has a large number of cafes/cultural spaces, which makes it a very competitive market for businesses such as "Café Gefyres".
2.The process of adaptation of those who have long been absent from the labor market+the coordination of the team to achieve the best possible result

Potential for learning or transfer

Café Gefyres SCE is one of the first cafés in Greece and the first in the Region of Western Greece where people with mental health problems and other vulnerable groups of the population (e.g.people with disabilities), are employed. Its operation is based on the principles & philosophy of the new law on Social & Solidarity Economy (4430/16). The hope is that the success of this type of business will serve as an inspiration and a strong incentive for other people with disabilities to become more active and try to reintegrate in the labor market. Café Gefyres also hopes to have a multiplying effect, inspiring other organizations and vulnerable population groups to implement similar ventures. Social entrepreneurship has been granted lately a special focus in the national legislation and the regional policy in terms of funding incentives. This practice can be easily replicated in rural areas with the assistance of local authorities and the regional operational programme.
Main institution
Regional Development Fund on behalf of Region of Western Greece
Δυτική Ελλάδα, Greece (Ελλαδα)
Start Date
October 2016
End Date


Please login to contact the author.

Good Practices being followed by