There’s been a lot of change for Orange Sky this year; growing our services, redesigning our vehicles and continuing to navigate through the unknown of a global pandemic. On a more personal level, I stepped into the role of CEO earlier this year, while my best mate Nic took on the leadership of our newly created Innovation and Imagination department, Team Delta.

Through change comes growth, and we’ve certainly experienced some epic milestones in 2021 that have supported us on our journey of helping 40,000 people by 2025.

What I’m most proud of though is the ongoing connection that has taken place on orange chairs across Australia and New Zealand. Every day this year, people from different walks of life came together for a common goal of sharing genuine conversation, free washing and warm showers. Despite the milestones, this remains the heart of our service.

As I write this, I’m reflecting on the fact that many of us are fortunate to be connecting more than ever; Christmas parties, social gatherings, and time spent with loved ones. In contrast to this, many of our friends doing it tough are more disconnected than ever at this time of year. 

Each holiday season, Orange Sky works hard to bridge this gap with the support of our incredible donors, volunteers, service providers, and team.

Orange Sky typically sees 20% reduction in shifts over the holiday period due to service provider closures – these partnerships are critical in the delivery of our laundry and shower service. This year, we have mobilised a number of pop up shifts to continue supporting our friends over the holidays, and expect to see only a 16% reduction in shifts.

We have also conducted a match giving appeal for a second year (thanks to the support of the Shine On Foundation) and we’ve been blown away by the generosity of our donors to support friends doing it tough. Damo’s story of transitioning from a friend of Orange Sky to a regular volunteer has certainly resonated with many people. As Damo told us, “homelessness doesn’t get a holiday,” and it’s an even more important time for our services to continue operating. 

This Christmas, I look forward to going out on shift, sharing a chair and a chat with our friends and volunteers.

Connection is important all year round, but is heightened over this important period. We all deserve this very basic human right. It’s been another challenging but impactful year, and I’m so grateful to our entire community for helping us continue to connect in 2021. 

Wishing you all a happy holiday, and see you in the new year!

These holidays, give the gift of connection.

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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