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Orange Sky partners with OMO to ‘lighten the load’ for families

In Australia, one in six children live below the poverty line and with the rising cost of living, it’s likely the number of families struggling to make ends meet will only continue to grow. 

As a result of this staggering statistic, families who are struggling to pay for essentials such as rent and food, school items like clean uniforms and sports clothes are luxuries that are often neglected from the priorities list. Sadly, this has a significant impact on a child’s ability to attend school with confidence and gain a solid education.

To lighten the load for families in need, Orange Sky is excited to be partnering with OMO to deliver ‘The Confidence Cycle’; an initiative that will support our mobile laundry and shower services in key school catchment areas across QLD and NSW.

This exciting partnership will ensure Aussie school kids can take on the school week with fresh, clean uniforms, washed and dried for free at an Orange Sky shift.

Orange Sky volunteer Lyndal Lowth from Cairns says “I have been volunteering with Orange Sky for three years and have connected with a number of young families. I have often chatted to children on shift and they have told me that they weren’t able to go to school that day because they didn’t have any clean clothes.”

“Some of these families have shared that they see education as a priority for their kids – we’ve seen parents waiting at our shift locations from 4:30am to be first in line for our 8am shift so their children’s school uniforms can be washed and dried ready for a school day.”

Lorna Ash, General Manager, Homecare Australia and New Zealand at Unilever said that OMO was proud to be partnering with Orange Sky on this significant partnership.

“With the cost of living continuing to rise, many Aussie families are doing it tough at the moment. Our aim in partnering with Orange Sky is to lighten the load for these families in a small but important way, ensuring that Aussie kids have access to clean uniforms and the confidence they bring.,” said Ms Ash.

Orange Sky Co-Founder and CEO, Lucas Patchett added that clean clothes and showers can make a massive difference to someone’s day, but what makes Orange Sky’s services so impactful is the hours of genuine, non-judgemental conversation and connection that take place between their volunteers and the friends accessing their services each and every day. 

“Since launching Orange Sky, I’ve seen people in some really tough situations, including young families whose kids weren’t in school due to not having clean uniforms,” Lucas said. 

“Not only does Orange Sky provide an essential service, but it also offers a safe, welcoming, and non-judgemental place and thanks to our friends at OMO, we’re going to be able to continue to grow our services and reach more people in need.”

Our mission is to create a safe, positive and supportive environment for people experiencing homelessness who are often ignored or feel disconnected from the community. Currently Orange Sky operates 52 services – which is made up of predominantly laundry and shower vans, and a mix of semi-mobile and permanent sites – in 32 locations across Australia, and 4 services in 3 locations in New Zealand, offering endless hours of conversation facilitated by a team of passionate volunteers. 

OMO is proudly supporting Orange Sky’s services in three locations across Australia; Newcastle, Beenleigh and Cairns. Shifts within these areas that are specifically operating within school catchment regions include:

  • Newcastle, NSW – Catholic Care Hamilton South, 29 Fowler Street, Hamilton South, New South Wales, 2303 
  • Beenleigh, QLD – Hugh Muntz Park, Reisers Road, Beenleigh, QLD, 4207 
  • Cairns, QLD – Cairns Villa and Leisure Park, 28 Pease St, Manoora, Queensland, 4870 

Thank you to OMO for allowing Orange Sky to positively connect more communities and providing a boost of confidence to kids across Australia!


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. 


Don’t change clothes, change lives! The Sudsy Challenge is BACK

When Nic and Lucas fitted out the first van with washers and dryers back in 2014, they never could have imagined the incredible impact that Orange Sky would have on countless Australians experiencing homelessness. The Sudsy Challenge is our annual fundraising initiative and was created so more everyday Aussies could get involved in our mission to ‘positively connect communities’.

Who is Sudsy, you ask?

‘Sudsy’ is Orange Sky’s first mobile laundry van, which was built in a Brisbane garage by Co-Founders, Nic and Lucas, at the age of 20. It took three days – and three sets of washing machines – to get the first van working and operational, which inspired the three-day Sudsy Challenge. 

The Sudsy Challenge is back in 2022 to raise much needed funds and awareness for Orange Sky. We challenge you to wear the same clothes for three days in a row, sparking conversations about homelessness in Australia and the importance of providing access to free laundry, warm showers, and genuine connection for our friends doing it tough. 

With more Sudsy Challengers on board, our ability to provide friends with a safe space to access our services increases. We want to see as many Orange Sky vans driving around the country as possible, fitted out with washing machines, dryers and six orange chairs – so we need your help! 

The Sudsy Challenge is more than just repeating an outfit. It’s about educating people on the current state of homlessness, and helping to wash away some of the stigmas surrounding homelessness. It is about creating a safe and positive environment for people who feel disconnected from their community. This September, we’re asking you not to change clothes. Instead, wear the same outfit for three days and help change the lives of our friends doing it tough.

How can you get involved? 

Pick one of the three C’s – Challenger, Cheerleader or Contributor. 

Challenger

If you’re interested in taking part in The Sudsy Challenge, sign up via our website, start those conversations and get fundraising! You can sign up solo, in a pair, or in a group! Once you’ve reached the $24 milestone, you will receive your very own Sudsy t-shirt in the mail to wear during the challenge. We know life is busy, so we’ve made sure you have the option to pick any three days in September to do the challenge. 

Cheerleader 

Where would our Challengers be without their Cheerleaders? Get ready to support your challenger when they need it, whether it be a simple pat on the back, a shout out on your social media page or sharing their fundraising page in your group chat. Speak up to support your mate as they #KeepTheirKitOn and help spark those important conversations about homelessness in Australia.

Contributor 

Another way to support Orange Sky is to donate to a Challenger. Just $24 provides a friend doing it tough with access to free laundry and a warm shower, and allows our volunteers to provide connection for those who need it most.

We encourage you to get creative when rocking your Sudsy t-shirt, and we can’t wait to see what you get up to in your orange kit. Remember, conversation and connection underpins what we do at Orange Sky, so don’t be afraid to have some life-changing chats.

Talk to your community about why you’ve chosen to take on the challenge. Share your #SudsyChallenge experience with your Instagram or Facebook followers, or even vlog your day in the orange for Tiktok! Whatever your style is, we’re excited to see how you get the word out. 

When you take on The Sudsy Challenge, you’re committing to much more than just wearing a t-shirt for three days. You’re contributing to a nation-wide movement to start the conversation about homelessness, so we can continue to provide support to Aussies doing it tough. 


Donna's lasting legacy

It’s a Port Macquarie shift in 2020. Over the buzz of washing machines, you hear the laughter of Donna’s captivated audience as she shares one of her well-known tales of hardship. Sitting on an orange chair, she is retelling a story of her childhood with comedic flare, trying to encourage her sister, Dee [a fellow Orange Sky volunteer] to join in. That was the special thing about Donna, she understood the light and shade of hardship. She knew how to create a safe space for people doing it tough to feel like they belong.

A passionate mid North Coast volunteer, Donna had an undeniable knack for connecting with friends. Donna was not unfamiliar with hardship, experiencing homelessness herself at points throughout her life. Her lived experience made her unafraid to look grief and suffering in the eye, whilst always finding laughter amidst pain.

In 2021, Donna’s health deteriorated. She fought her illness, continued to volunteer and kept her same vibrant attitude right till the end. Orange Sky is immeasurably grateful to Donna for choosing to spend her precious time donning an orange shirt and supporting the Port Macquarie community. Donna’s kindness continued by donating a gift in her estate to Orange Sky. We want to acknowledge the extent of Donna’s support of Orange Sky during and after her life.

In many ways, Donna’s life trajectory changed at the time she decided to become an Orange Sky volunteer. Over the years Donna’s ambitions hadn’t always come to fruition. Challenging life experiences and neurodivergence often impacted Donna’s attempts at a fair go. Seeking a fulfilling gateway back into the workforce, Donna learned about Orange Sky and signed up as a Port Macquarie vollie.

Original comment from Donna’s application (4th Aug 2018):

“I love talking to people! I love telling them stories to make them smile and have plenty of empathy as I was in a similar situation many years ago!”

Donna was out on shift soon after and became a well known and dedicated part of the Port Macquarie team, alongside her sister Dee who was already volunteering. There is no better depiction of Donna’s style of volunteering than her application. Donna’s storytelling, laughter and empathy became an important part of every shift and something that friends looked forward to. 

“Once Donna got the taste of giving back, she ran with it,” said Dee. Donna said yes to every volunteering opportunity Orange Sky had. She attended most shifts and formed connections everywhere she went. Donna’s confidence and wellbeing continued to improve as she began a TAFE course in counselling. A lifelong dream of hers. 

Donna’s health battles became life threatening in 2021, while her professional and personal trajectory was at a point of great pride. Donna’s mother, Susie, vividly recalls her seeing an Orange Sky shift request and, despite being in palliative care at the time, desperately asked to be the one to fill it.  “Do you think I could do it?” she pleaded. 

Donna’s legacy reminds us that we all deserve chances to get back on our feet and a place to belong. Orange Sky is so grateful to have been an outlet for Donna’s kindness. Each volunteer brings a different perspective and story to the tapestry of Orange Sky. Thanks to Donna Sturgess’ patch, the entire Orange Sky tapestry is much brighter.

Thank you to Donna’s mother, Susie and sister, Dee for kindly sharing about Donna and cultivating these words. Our hearts go out to Donna’s loved ones and the Port Macquarie community of friends and Orange Sky volunteers that meant so much to Donna, as Donna means to them.


Homelessness can be closer than we like to imagine

People have an idea in their head of what a person who’s experiencing homelessness looks like. We may reject the thought of ourselves reflected in this stereotype. Although the sad reality is that many Australians are struggling to make ends meet. With the rising cost of living, the impacts of COVID and the rental crisis, people who never expected to struggle are finding themselves in challenging situations. Although I have been very fortunate in my life, I can think of so many times where one or two changes in my personal life have pushed me to places I never thought I would be. 

My family moved to Australia from Zimbabwe/Botswana when I was twelve years old. My parents sacrificed a lot, including almost all of their life savings, to move my family here and give us a better life and opportunities. Although I was pretty oblivious at the time, I know that there were periods where my family struggled financially. If it weren’t for our family in Australia, the Zimbabwean community and the friends we made along the way, our situation could have been very different.

Dani is pictured below fourth from left in polkadots.

I think back to the Brisbane floods in 2011. My rental lease was up and the market couldn’t keep up with demand. As a full-time student with a part-time job, I simply couldn’t afford the inflated rental prices. I packed everything I owned into boxes and loaded them into my car. I had no place to live. If it weren’t for my friends who let me sleep on their floors and couches, who called their friends to see if anyone had a place for me to live, and who kept me positive and hopeful – my circumstances and the outcome could have been very different

In 2015, I found myself at the end of a long-term relationship. The bills that I was so easily able to pay half of had suddenly doubled. I had also recently left what I thought was my long-term career to go back to uni, and taken a much lower paying job. My savings ran dry and my mental health was at an all-time low. Thankfully, my support network of family, friends and co-workers helped me get back on my feet, get my mental health to a better place, find a new job and find a more affordable place to live. Without my support network, my fresh start could have turned into a very different reality.

Each of these times in my life, it has been the support and generosity of my community, my friends, my family, my workplace and my co-workers that has been the difference between having a home and potentially becoming homeless. I think everyone knows what it feels like to face the unknown or to be unsure if things are going to work out. You don’t have to have ‘experienced homelessness’ to know what it’s like to struggle or to feel lonely. 

The reality of financial insecurity is being felt across households nationwide. Last year one in two Australians had to change their living circumstances due to rising living costs. I have been that person and I know the difference that a supportive, loving, positive community can make. Orange Sky may not be able to change people’s circumstances, but what we can do is make sure that they have access to a safe and welcoming place to share their challenges and to feel like they belong.


NAIDOC Week 2022

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have a proud history of getting up, standing up, and showing up. As an organisation that brings together thousands of Australians from all walks of life, Orange Sky acknowledges our responsibility to celebrate and show up for First Peoples within our community.

Orange Sky benefits from the voices and commitments of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples each and every day (including Veronica Yanawana (VY), one of our incredible team members in Bidyadanga pictured below). This NAIDOC Week, we reflect on our past, present and future commitments, and celebrate the important First Nations leaders who have been crucial to our journey. From friends and volunteers to our staff and supporters; Orange Sky is passionate about playing our part to Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up!.

Prioritising reconciliation in our operations and enriched within our culture and policies. 

In May 2022, Orange Sky launched our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). This Innovate RAP is a mechanism for Orange Sky to #GetUp – prioritising reconciliation, not only in our operations but also enriched within our culture and policies. 

We recognise the tireless contributions of our RAP Working Group, and in particular, the cultural perspectives and knowledgeable voices of Racheal Higgins, Richard Cassady, Caleb Cassady, Leon Designs and Rhoda Tjitayi. 

Connect with Orange Sky’s Innovate RAP here.  

Improving equitable access to laundry services and employment in remote First Nations communities

Currently, 20% (eight services) of our Australian operations are in remote communities, aiming to bridge challenges with laundry access and costs. Our remote services include: QLD (Lockhart River, Palm Island, Aurukun), NT (Maningrida, Wadeye), and WA (Fitzroy Crossing, Bidyadanga, Yungngora). 

These remote services are made possible by some incredible local service partners such as Malal’a Health Service Aboriginal Corporation, Thamarrurr Development Corporation, Marra Worra Worra and Bidyadanga Aboriginal Community La Grange Inc. Our partners support paid employment opportunities for local people working on the Orange Sky van. Currently, Orange Sky creates ≈15 employment opportunities for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander peoples in remote communities.

This includes legends like Gary (pictured, left) and Linton (right) who provide their community with access to laundry services in Maningrida NT, VY in Bidyadanga WA, and Thelma and Irene in Lockhart River QLD. 

Explore the remote communities we operate in here. 

Creating safe and respectful spaces for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander friends to connect on orange chairs

In the context of our work, we recognise the disproportionate rates of homelessness for First Nations peoples, particularly in remote communities. As we continue growing our social impact in an effort to support 40,000 friends by 2025, we acknowledge the importance of each orange chair that our friends sit on and each conversation we have. We are committed to creating safe, respectful and inclusive spaces to positively connect communities.