“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. The SCE “Café Gefyres” is not just a cafeteria but a space of intense cultural and 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. Besides its function as a workplace for people with mental health problems, it is also a place of education and 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.
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.
The VINCI company was a major contributor for the creation of the café, providing a substantial amount for the construction and start-up of the SCE. A large number of 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 who have volunteered in order to support the social purpose of the business.