Washing, Yarning and Positively Connecting Communities in 2022

2022 saw eight years of washing, yarning and positively connecting communities here at Orange Sky, such an exciting milestone! But 2022 was also a stark reminder that our services are needed now more than ever. 

The last year for Orange Sky has been one in which the true character of the organisation has been tested. We have adapted, innovated, responded and done what we do best: help our friends in the community. March 2022 became our biggest month on record for impact and total number of people helped. We launched multiple new services, five of which are in remote communities. Our innovation team led multiple successful ventures, launching the Waru Dryer, RV3.0 and Laundromat of the Future.

But first and foremost, this impact would not have been possible without you, our community of supporters, who each play an important part in the ecosystem that is Orange Sky. So to wrap up the year, here are three key moments from three key sections of our community…..

Community Recovery

The devastating impacts of the March 2022 floods had been felt far and wide right across Qld and NSW communities, including Albion – home of Orange Sky HQ! Orange Sky worked hard to positively connect communities, supporting people with access to free mobile laundry, warm showers and genuine conversations right across Brisbane, Ipswich, Gympie and the Northern Rivers when life suddenly turned upside down. 

The unprecedented floods in Northern NSW left Jocelyn and her family from Mullumbimby devastated, losing around 80% of their belongings; a lot of which were clothes. Jocelyn told us the unlaundered pieces were too overwhelming to deal with, and the only option was to say goodbye to these belongings or get some help.  Orange Sky heard Jocelyn’s story and offered our services, transforming over 15 large containers and bags of flooded garments covered in mud and sewage into clean, good-as-new clothing.

“Jocelyn is an absolute superstar, such a beautiful person that I wish I met under better circumstances. We were so happy to relieve her of some of her tasks after the flooding, but more importantly give her a safe space to talk about her and her family’s experience over the past few weeks and be there for her when she needed it.” – Emma Duce, Orange Sky.

Biggest Month of Impact

March 2022 saw our BIGGEST month of impact to date, with Orange Sky completing over 10,000 washes for CRS and positively connecting 22,400 people during the financial year. This is all thanks to our staff and volunteers who poured endless amounts of passion, energy and time into supporting our community with free laundry, warm showers and genuine conversation. On top of our regular weekly shifts, Orange Sky has been committed to helping those impacted by flooding across Queensland and New South Wales. 

 

Bernie from the Australian Red Cross has seen first hand the impact our services are providing to communities in the most vulnerable of situations.

“It’s been a great help having Orange Sky here. People get two major elements of support. They can feel a sense of comfort from having clean and dry clothes. Plus they get some fresh air outside the evacuation centre and have a chat with the Orange Sky team. It’s made a difference.” – Bernie, Orange Sky service provider. 

Remote, Sustainability and Inclusivity

We launched new services – including four in remote communities (Aurukun, Yungngora, Yakanarra, Galiwin’ku) – 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.

Vivienne and her family are some of the friendly faces that visit our remote service in Maningrida, NT – run by Mala’la Health Services. In a region where laundry access is challenging, Vivienne shared how helpful it is to have her winter blankets washed and dried so her family can stay warm each night.

“Always so good to have Orange Sky come and wash the big blankets. They take maybe two days to dry but Orange Sky can do it quickly. They are very busy so it’s nice to have them come and wash for me and my sisters and my mum,” – Vivienne, Orange Sky Friend.📍Kunibídji Country.

Conversations happen every day of the year on our six orange chairs, and we want to make sure we can continue that over the holidays. Whether that be an opportunity for a friend who might be doing it tough to have a conversation, a volunteer who is potentially lonely or isolated being able to connect with a friend; or a load of laundry washed, every connection on our six orange chairs helps ease the load. We need to fund more than 1,600 shifts to support our friends over the Holiday period. With a gift of $288, you can provide an entire shift to help our community doing it tough get through the holiday season. 

Orange Sky thanks you for your continued support, and we look forward to sharing more conversations and connecting more Australian than ever before in 2023.

Help ease the load for our friends

Donate today

Rising cost of living impacting homelessness across the country

For people doing it tough or families struggling to make ends meet, the current economic climate is making it harder to get by. 

The release of Australia’s budget in October has predicted a decline in living standards over the next 12 months. Many Australian households are already feeling the impacts of rising costs of living, along with inflation at its highest rate since 1990 rising 7.3% in the past 12 months.

Research conducted by Orange Sky this year in partnership with YouGov, revealed that many Australians are currently facing financial hardship, with six in ten (59%) saying they struggle to make ends meet at least once a year and one in five (22%) who struggle each week. 

The impacts of these economic changes are felt hardest among vulnerable people and families in our community living on the poverty line, resulting in one in five (21%) Aussies having experienced homelessness, slightly up from 2021’s study which revealed 20% had experienced homelessness.

Additionally, the report also shed light on the impact of recent increases in the cost of living:

· Almost one in three (28%) feared losing their home due to financial struggles and one in four (25%) had to take on a secondary income to make ends meet.

· Of those who had previously experienced homelessness, six in 10 (59%) feared losing their home due to financial struggles and more than half (51%) took on a secondary income to get by.

· One in 10 (10%) say they struggled to make ends meet every day.

· Six in 10 (59%) experienced increased nervousness about their financial security in the past year.

· Almost half (49%) had to change their living circumstances due to rising costs.

Orange Sky Co-founder Nic Marchesi (OAM) said since 2014, Orange Sky has helped support the most vulnerable members of our community through the simple act of clean laundry, warm showers and most importantly genuine conversation when life takes an unexpected turn.

“Unfortunately, 2022 is already proving to be the toughest year many of us have faced,” he said.

“In the first six months of this year alone, we’ve seen everyday costs skyrocket, coupled with the ongoing pandemic and natural disasters like flooding across Queensland and New South Wales, it has created the perfect storm for homelessness and forced more Aussies to live paycheck-to-paycheck, making the support provided by Orange Sky more important than ever.

“When people experiencing homelessness stop by one of our vans, we wash their clothes and offer them a warm shower and it makes them feel better but they tell us that it’s the conversations our volunteers have with them they love the most.”

Orange Sky remains committed to supporting the increasing demand in our services for Australians experiencing hardship and homelessness. Each week, our legendary volunteers operate over 300 shifts around Australia, providing free access to laundry, warm showers and genuine conversations on orange chairs across Australia, allowing us to see the people and stories behind statistics.

It’s never been more important than now to provide support and help ease the load for those doing it tough.

Help ease the load for our friends

Donate today

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

Learn More

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

Learn More

OUR NATIONAL PARTNERS

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.


Friend Resource Page

What is a friend?
If you are someone who is using our service, you are known as a friend.

How does Orange Sky help friends?
We help friends by providing access to clean laundry, warm showers and genuine conversations. Our mission is to positively connect communities.

Standards of Behaviour
Our Orange Sky Standards of Behaviour for your time on shift are simple and easy to follow. Take a closer look at our graphic below.

FAQs

We operate shifts every day across Australia and New Zealand. The best way to find your nearest shift is to visit  locations.orangesky.org.au

Parking for each shift location differs, so visit locations.orangesky.org.au to find your nearest parking spot. If this is a concern for you, please call our team on (07) 3067 5800 who will be able to find out for you.

Nothing! Zilch! Zero! Our shifts are free to use for both laundry and showers.

You will be given a basket to place your clothes into (remember to empty your pockets), then you will load your items into the washing machine.

While your clothes are being washed, feel free to sit on one of our six orange chairs and have a yarn with one of our volunteers.

Next stop for your clothes is the dryer, where they’ll remain for around 30 – 40 minutes. Sit back, relax, and connect through genuine conversations. That’s it – too easy!

Not all of our shifts have showers, but if you’re on the hunt for a warm shower, visit locations.orangesky.org.au, and when you click on a shift location it will show you what services are available.

Let one of our volunteers know you would like to have a shower.  They will take your name, and let you know where you are in the queue.  If you would like your want washing done as well, please also let them know that, so you do not miss out!

When it is your turn, you will be shown around to the shower, given a clean robe, towel and bath mat.

A volunteer will run through some quick dos and don’ts, and make sure you are comfortable. We also supply shampoo, conditioner and body wash for you, so there is no need to bring your own.

Each person has 15 minutes in the cubicle, the shower volunteers will usually knock on the door when you have 5 minutes left in there. You can continue to wear the robe after your shower if you are getting clothes washed as well. We just need it back at the end of the shift.

No booking is required to use our services! Some of our shifts can get busy, so we recommend arriving when the shift starts so you secure your spot in the queue (if there is one!).

Anyone that needs to, can use Orange Sky’s services. We are non-judgemental and won’t ask you questions about your situation if you do not want to share.

Oh no! It is best to call Orange Sky HQ with any lost laundry enquiries. We can be contacted on (07) 3067 5800 or you can make an enquiry on our Contact Us Page.

We wash all clothing items, blankets, towels and bedding.

Unfortunately, we cannot wash heavily soiled items or footwear, as they may damage our machines.

Please note that washing is at your own risk. 

Some larger items (thick blankets, bigger pillows) may not be able to be dried properly, depending on size.  Our volunteers can assist with this on shift.

Liquid detergent is automatically dosed into the machines every time a washing cycle starts, so there is no need to bring your own.

Orange Sky laundromats are located in a few select locations, and for the majority of the day are a paid laundry service.

We offer certain shift times, where your items can be washed for free. Learn more about our Orange Sky laundromats here, or check out locations.orangesky.org.au for up to date information on shift times.

We recommend using Ask Izzy. Ask Izzy is a website that connects people in crisis with the services they need right now, and nearby. This includes things like food, shelter, legal help, and much more. https://askizzy.org.au/

Orange Sky is growing its impact every single day, and we aim to go where we are needed most! If you think that there is a need for our services in your area, please make an enquiry on our Contact Us Page.


Spin Cycle - Volunteer Newsletter

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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

Van Location
Mikey Sunshine Coast, QLD
Peggy Townsville, QLD
Splasher Adelaide, SA
Sandy Brisbane, QLD
Tubbsy Canberra, ACT
Koorda Perth, 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, VIC October 2022
Dasher Melbourne SE, VIC

October 2022

Jelley Fish

Hobart, TAS October 2022
Cathy Port Macquarie, NSW

Cathy is being replaced with laundry pods. 

Tumbles

Central Coast, NSW November 2022
Rebecca Sydney, NSW November 2022
Daisy Wollongong, NSW November 2022
Hunter Newcastle, NSW December 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.