On the house

Castlemaine café owner Dot Hardman invites community members to get behind the 'One on the House' initiative.
Castlemaine café owner Dot Hardman invites community members to get behind the 'One on the House' initiative.

Castlemaine café operator Dot Hardman of The Dot in Barker Street has embraced the community movement ‘One on the House’ that aims to brighten the day of locals doing it tough.
Dot said well-loved local ‘Nana’ Barb Templar of the Castlemaine RSL first suggested the idea of ‘donating’ an extra coffee for those doing it tough after seeing the concept on social media.
“I was happy to give it a go and see if we could gain some local support. I put a little sign up but unfortunately it didn’t really get off the ground,” Dot said.
The concept was recently raised on social media forum ‘Castlemania’ by local resident Leslie Vick and garnered a huge response, with Nana Barb’s daughter Karen Thompson pointing out that Dot had already tried to get the ball rolling.
“Leslie approached me about giving it another go, he helped make the ‘One on the House’ signs and kicked things off with a generous donation and word is beginning to spread,” Dot said.
“I’ve had a number of donations and I feel absolutely honoured to be able to pass these on to battlers in our community in the form of a cuppa, brekky or lunch,” she said.
“It is an absolute privilege to say to a hard-working student ‘Here this cuppa is from the people of Castlemaine’ or tell an elderly couple who are splitting a pie, ‘You know what? Here are two pies and a drink each from the people of Castlemaine’.
“Some people are working really hard to pay all their bills and just get by and a coffee is a luxury. It’s nice when you see people counting out their change to be able to say look don’t worry about it. The generous people of Castlemaine have donated funds so enjoy ‘One on the House’.
“People are moved to tears, they are really grateful. It brightens their day and brings a smile to their face,” Dot said.
If you’d like to support the initiative it’s easy, simply pay for an extra coffee next time you’re grabbing a bite at ‘The Dot’ or donate your loose change.
“It is a beautiful concept. I hope a lot of other local cafes will also take it on board and spread the love. It would be great to really see it take off,” she said.
“Castlemaine is such an amazing place we always have a great response to fundraisers we have run for the Relay for Life and the Cancer Council. We also have a local man who donates 100 jars of preserves each year, which we sell for him to raise funds for the Epilepsy Foundation. The town has a huge heart.”