Yvonne reflects on why volunteering is more important than ever before

December 5th marks a very special day in the Orange Sky calendar – it’s International Volunteer Day. It’s an opportunity to celebrate our remarkable team of volunteers and the work they do each day to positively connect communities across Australia and New Zealand through washing, showers and most importantly, genuine, non-judgmental conversations. 

Each week, teams of volunteers gather in communities across Australia to provide a safe, welcoming and reliable space for our friends doing it tough. In these times of financial uncertainty, our remarkable volunteers are needed now more than ever before. One such Volunteer is Yvonne, who reflects first hand on this need, and explains how important it is to ease the load for our friends doing it tough. 

Delassa (Gemai’s Mum) and Yvonne (Orange Sky Volunteer)

“My name’s Yvonne and I’m a Team Leader at Orange Sky. We are a really busy shift with about five people who are volunteers that assist with the laundry on a Monday. None of the little houses have any laundry facilities at all so we are a really highly desirable service for the area. I have an appreciation of the situations some of our friends find themselves in, where they don’t even have six dollars to go over to the laundromat to wash their clothes. The $6 that they saved by doing their laundry with us at Orange Sky meant that they ate lunch that day.”

Gemai is one of those women, who as Yvonne explains, lives right next to where they park the van. 

“Gemai has a number of children, two of whom are autistic which places a lot of extra demands on her time and money. Gemai knows we’re here, she accesses us on a weekly basis and she’s the most pleasant, polite, engaging lady that you could get. Her Mum [Delassa] also lives in the complex too, she’s just a delightful lady, we really enjoy engaging with her and providing a service for her.

We’re making their lives a little bit easier by doing what I think is a fairly small thing, but to them is something really huge. I don’t think we should underestimate that, I think it’s a great thing that we do to help them”. 

With the rising costs of living affecting so many communities across Australia, it’s more important than ever for volunteers like Yvonne to be there to help #EaseTheLoad. 

Learn more about volunteering at Orange Sky

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A YEAR IN REVIEW: 2022

At the close of 2022 year, we can reflect on the enormous challenge of the past 12 months.

 

From COVID-19 through to the floods in South East QLD and NSW Northern Rivers, Orange Sky worked hard to positively connect communities, supporting people with access to free mobile laundry, warm showers and genuine conversations.

 

This year Orange Sky saw growth in services, innovation and impact.

We launched new services - including four in remote communities (Aurukun, Yungngora, Yakanarra, Galwinku) - and led a number of successful ventures, including vehicle upgrades that will allow our fleet to be more reliable, user-friendly and better for the environment. As an organisation, we are committed to being an ethical, sustainable and inclusive charity leader, and we’re proud to have a Reconciliation Action Plan.

 

We want to say a massive thank you to our partners, donors, volunteers and friends who have stayed with us, trusted us and supported us throughout the year.

 

Orange Sky cannot have an impact without you!

Hear from our community

"Lots of people think homelessness is mostly of their fault. From volunteering I understand there are so many factors impacting on people being homeless. The awareness is better now and sadly before there was no real action at all, it was considered a very hidden thing. Our friends take so much pride in their appearance and clean clothes are a big part of that"


- Greg, Orange Sky Volunteer.

"I come down and do my washing once a week. It makes me feel better - better in myself, to be able to have a shower and put clean clothes on. Otherwise, I would have no way to put fresh clothes on, I would have to wait until payday - but then I wouldn't be able to afford much."


- Matt, Orange Sky Friend.

"You don't know what everyone's going through or what they're facing, outside of work or walking past them in the street. Sometimes all someone needs is a conversation and it makes their day immediately better, and that puts them in a better head space for better things to come their way."


- Kate, Orange Sky Volunteer.

Lean more about Orange Sky's

Reconciliation Action Plan

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OUR PRINCIPAL PARTNER


OUR NATIONAL PARTNER


OUR PARTNERS


Orange Sky Australia • 2020 • 17 Dover Street, Albion Queensland 4010 • (07) 3067 5800 • ABN/Charity ID: 85890622990 • We are a registered charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) All donations over $2 are fully tax deductible as a Deductible Gift Recipient by the Australian Tax Office.

Orange Sky acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the traditional custodians of the land across Australia. We pay our respect to Ancestors and their descendants who hold a continued cultural and spiritual connection to the land, seas and community and would like to recognise and uphold Indigenous knowledges and contributions of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. We are committed to working together to create a positive future through our Reconciliation Action Plan.


Spin Cycle - Volunteer Newsletter

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Orange Sky Innovations Recognised for Design Excellence

Orange Sky’s RV3.0 Vehicle and Waru Dryer recently received an Australian Good Design Award Winner Accolade in the Social Impact category for outstanding design and innovation.

Orange Sky’s Co-Founder and Chief Delta Officer, Nicholas Marchesi (pictured, right) and Designer, Magnus Murray-Douglas (left) accepted the award at the 2022 Australian Good Design Awards last month. 

The Australian Good Design Awards is the country’s most prestigious award recognising design and innovation. The Awards celebrate the best new products and services on the international market. Projects recognised with an Australian Good Design Award demonstrate excellence in professional design and highlight the impact a design-led approach has on business success and social and environmental outcomes.

Orange Sky was recognised with two Design Excellence Awards for the Waru Dryer and RV3.0 Vehicle. Both innovations were developed by Orange Sky’s own Team Delta – a department focused on ‘Imagination and Innovation’. The department name of Delta is linked to the Greek triangle and symbolises change and growth.

Waru Dryer – Good Design Excellence Award

The idea for harnessing the sun’s power to develop a solar-powered dryer was born in while Nic was under the scorching Anangu Central Desert sun. The Waru Dryer provides more efficient ways to support our friends doing it tough, whilst being kinder to our planet. Learn more about the Waru Dryer here. 

The Good Design Awards jury commented: “The Waru Dryer is an innovative solution to support people doing it tough whilst being kinder to our planet. The product design incorporates innovative technical solutions to reduce energy consumption and increase operational efficiencies. This design is coupled with the moving artwork which honours the ideas and traditions of Indigenous culture and seeks to positively connect local communities.”

RV3.0 Vehicle – Good Design Excellence Award

The Orange Sky RV3.0 is the world’s first solar and battery-powered laundry truck supporting health and social outcomes for remote Australians. Fitted with three washing machines and dryers, the RV3.0 provides free mobile laundry to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island communities. Learn more about the RV3.0 Vehicle here.

The Good Design Awards jury commented: “An innovative address of the challenges and requirements of a vehicle under extreme conditions. The social challenges experienced in rural and remote regions are impressively articulated and integrated into the business model. Exceptional post-disaster opportunities are a highlight.”

CEO of Good Design Australia and Chair of the Australian Good Design Awards, Dr. Brandon Gien said: “To be recognised with an Australian Good Design Award is a significant achievement, given the incredibly high standard of projects submitted in this year’s Awards. The Good Design Award is a valuable independent endorsement of professional design quality.”

“We know that good design, when used effectively, can improve our quality of life and make the world around us better, safer, more efficient and more beautiful.”

Thanks to our amazing team of staff and supporters who made the Waru Dryer and RV3.0 possible. To learn more about how Orange Sky is using innovation to improve how we operate, click here. 


Vehicle weight 2 - volunteer

Orange Sky has made some key changes to our processes for operating our some of our vans. We’d like to thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to work with local leadership teams to find resolutions to minimise disruption to your volunteer experience.  

If you have any questions that aren’t covered in the below FAQ, or you believe that your shift could be impacted but you haven’t been contacted about this, please use this form to let us know!

FAQs

Our vehicles undergo rigorous testing and regular safety audits to ensure they meet compliance standards and current legislation. This benchmarking is completed alongside external organisations to ensure that Orange Sky meets and exceeds the safety standards across all parts of our operations. This issue arose during a routine audit of our van fleet. Once we were aware that there was a compliance standard issue, the operations and risk teams began operating and acting on it immediately and with urgency.

Yes. Specifically, once the requirements for our shower vans and Laurie (hybrid van) are executed on to reduce weight they are safe to drive.

At Orange Sky, we’ve always found ways of tackling challenging problems with innovative solutions. These changes are currently permanent until we can find a longer term solution. We will continue exploring alternative compliance options and future enhancements to allow our shower vans and Laurie (hybrid van) to carry passengers and full water tanks again whilst driving.

This can still be achieved. Training a new driver in a shower van (or Laurie hybrid van) can be completed by ensuring there is no water onboard, so an experienced driver of an Orange Sky van can travel as a passenger while the new volunteer becomes competent in driving the van. We recommend a volunteer travels to and from shift twice before travelling on their own.

Yes. You will have to drive back to the van base on your own in the van. However, if you feel unsafe dropping the van back to base late at night on your own, we would encourage a buddy system, where another volunteer follows in their own car back to base until you are safely back in your own car or form of transport. In light of these changes, we are now looking to have water and waste available at all of our shift locations. On the rare occasion where you may need to empty or refill late at night, our advice is to hand this task to the next available shift to complete in daylight hours by communicating with your service leader that you will no longer be able to fulfil this requirement.

No, unfortunately Orange Sky is not able to assist with parking costs associated with attending shift. However, where possible, Orange Sky will prioritise shifts with parking available and in close proximity to public transport. However, this isn’t always possible. If you are being impacted by these changes, please fill in this form, and someone from Orange Sky HQ can contact you to discuss alternative options to support your ongoing volunteering with Orange Sky

If there is another OS volunteer available (not a friend or member of the public) ask them to be a spotter to help guide the van when reversing. If no one is available to spot, make sure the hazard lights are on, and the driver’s and passengers’ windows are down so you can hear noises from any oncoming vehicles or approaching pedestrians. Be mindful of members of the public wearing headphones and not paying attention, and other vehicles passing by.

These options are at the discretion of the team’s involved, and could change from shift to shift depending on circumstances. We encourage the driver of the vehicle to always check if the water tanks are empty before allowing a passenger to drive with them in the van.

We are currently upgrading our training documents and will be adhering instructional stickers inside our vans, so a reminder will always be present for our flexible volunteers.

Unfortunately, there is no manual drainage point on the clean water tank in our shower vans or Laurie. If you need to drain any water in the clean water tank, it must be transferred to the waste water tank before draining. This means you will need to run a shower to transfer the water over.

We expect that your shift will still be able to run with a limited amount of showers and washing loads. The 250L in the tank available could allow for around 2-3 showers and 2-3 loads of washing, depending on the load sizes.

We will be supplying you with a Smart Flow Meter to attach to the water point when you fill your tank. This has a digital reading showing how many litres of water is going into the water tank. We expect these to arrive to you in the first week of October.


Vehicle weight - volunteer

Orange Sky has made some key changes to our processes for operating laundry vans, both upgraded and non-upgraded. We’d like to thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to work with local leadership teams to find resolutions to minimise disruption to your volunteer experience. 

If you have any questions that aren’t covered in the below FAQ, or you believe that your shift could be impacted but you haven’t been contacted about this, please use this form to let us know!

FAQs

Our vehicles undergo rigorous testing and regular safety audits to ensure they meet compliance standards and current legislation. This benchmarking is completed alongside external organisations to ensure that Orange Sky meets and exceeds the safety standards across all parts of our operations. This issue arose during a routine audit of our van fleet. Once we were aware that there was a compliance standard issue, the operations and risk teams began operating and acting on it immediately and with urgency.

Yes. Specifically, once the requirements for non-upgraded laundry vans and upgraded laundry vans are executed on to reduce weight they are safe to drive. 

At Orange Sky, we’ve always found ways of tackling challenging problems with innovative solutions. These changes are currently permanent until we can find a longer term solution. As we continue to upgrade the remainder of our fleet, we’re looking to refine the upgrade design further and are exploring alternative compliance options and future enhancements to allow our laundry vans to carry passengers and water again whilst driving. 

Services with upgraded vans

This can still be achieved. Training a new driver in an upgraded laundry van can be completed by ensuring there is no water onboard, so an experienced driver of an Orange Sky van can travel as a passenger while the new volunteer becomes competent in driving the van. We recommend a volunteer travels to and from shift twice before travelling on their own.

Services with non-upgraded vans

As no passengers are able to travel in a non-upgraded Orange Sky van, we recommend holding off on asking new volunteers to drive until your van has been upgraded. However, we understand that this may not be possible under certain circumstances, and you may need a new driver to keep the shift running. In this instance, an experienced Orange Sky volunteer should use the New driver guide (for non-upgraded vans) to train volunteers in driving the Orange Sky van.

Yes. You will have to drive back to the van base on your own in the van. However, if you feel unsafe dropping the van back to base late at night on your own, we would encourage a buddy system, where another volunteer follows in their own car back to base until you are safely back in your own car or form of transport. In light of these changes, we are now looking to have water and waste available at all of our shift locations. On the rare occasion where you may need to empty or refill late at night, our advice is to hand this task to the next available shift to complete in daylight hours by communicating with your service leader that you will no longer be able to fulfil this requirement. 

No, unfortunately Orange Sky is not able to assist with parking costs associated with attending shift. However, where possible, Orange Sky will prioritise shifts with parking available and in close proximity to public transport. However, this isn’t always possible. If you are being impacted by these changes, please fill in this form, and someone from Orange Sky HQ can contact you to discuss alternative options to support your ongoing volunteering with Orange Sky

If there is another OS volunteer available (not a friend or member of the public) ask them to be a spotter to help guide the van when reversing. If no one is available to spot, make sure the hazard lights are on, and the driver’s and passengers’ windows are down so you can hear noises from any oncoming vehicles or approaching pedestrians. Be mindful of members of the public wearing headphones and not paying attention, and other vehicles passing by.

Vehicle leaders are being instructed on how to remove the spare tyre from the van, which will happen within the next two weeks. As we have comprehensive roadside assistance in place, in the event of a breakdown we encourage all volunteers to contact Service Support. 

All of our vans have roadside assistance available, so there is no reason to have a spare tyre onboard the van. Please contact Service Support and the team will provide assistance.

These options are at the discretion of the team’s involved, and could change from shift to shift depending on circumstances. We encourage the driver of the vehicle to always check if the water tanks are empty before allowing a passenger to drive with them in the van.

We are currently upgrading our training documents and will be adhering instructional stickers inside our vans, so a reminder will always be present for our flexible volunteers.

Here is a list of upgraded vs non-upgraded laundry vans.

Upgraded laundry vans

VanLocation
MikeySunshine Coast, QLD
PeggyTownsville, QLD
SplasherAdelaide, SA
SandyBrisbane, QLD
TubbsyCanberra, ACT
KoordaPerth, WA

Non-upgraded laundry vans

Van

Location

Bubbles

Townsville, QLD

Sadie

Melbourne, VIC

Bluey

Geelong, VIC

Marcia

Melbourne NW, VIC
Dasher

Melbourne SE, VIC

Jelley Fish

Hobart, TAS
Cathy

Port Macquarie, NSW

Tumbles

Central Coast, NSW

Hunter

Newcastle, NSW
Rebecca

Sydney, NSW

Daisy

Wollongong,NSW

You can empty the clean water tank by using the manual drainage point on the tank. The draining point is located at the rear of the vehicle, inside under the washing machines. A hose at least a few feet in length will be required to ensure that there is clearance from the van (however, it doesn’t have to be a full length hose).

VOLUNTEERS WITH SHIFT CANCELLED

Our main goal as a result of these changes is to limit the number of cancelled shifts as much as possible. If a shift has been paused during this process, our Community Impact Team will be working hard to find alternative solutions to allow the shift to resume as soon as possible. We will be in contact with impacted teams if circumstances change and we are able to resume a shift and/or if we have new information regarding the changes that have come into effect.

Yes, if there is an alternative shift that you can attend, please apply to be included on this team in Volaby under Volunteering > Activities.

Unfortunately, we are unable to directly notify friends of cancelled shifts. There are two ways that they will be able to learn this information. Firstly, via our ‘find a shift’ locations page on the website where when they search for a shift it will come up as ‘cancelled’. They will then have the option to explore other shifts available in their local area. Secondly, we encourage you and your fellow volunteers to share via word of mouth with our friends and service providers if a shift can no longer go ahead.

Yes. After your van has been upgraded, your van will be able to carry water in the water and waste tanks to and from the service location (but won’t be able to carry passengers). This means that your shift will be able to restart and continue to provide friends with access to clean laundry and genuine, non-judgmental conversations. 

Please see below an indicative timeline of when vans will be upgraded. Please note this is subject to change: we will keep you in the loop as these upgrades are rolled out.

Van

Location

Scheduled Upgrade

Sadie

Melbourne, VIC

October 2022

Bluey

Geelong, VIC

October 2022

Marcia

Melbourne NW, VICOctober 2022
DasherMelbourne SE, VIC

October 2022

Jelley Fish

Hobart, TASOctober 2022
CathyPort Macquarie, NSW

Cathy is being replaced with laundry pods. 

Tumbles

Central Coast, NSWNovember 2022
RebeccaSydney, NSWNovember 2022
DaisyWollongong, NSWNovember 2022
HunterNewcastle, NSWDecember 2022

Unfortunately not. The Orange Sky HQ team is working as fast as they can to ensure that the vehicle upgrades can be completed to the highest standard and in the fastest time frame in line with our project delivery plan. The team are currently exploring what changes we can make to address the weight issues and minimise their ongoing impact on the future delivery of our services. 

No. We have been in touch with all affected service providers that we partner with that have had shifts cancelled as a result of these changes, and let them know if we will no longer be able to attend the shift at this time.