Homeless women are developing skills and confidence through a new social enterprise – The Linen Shift which is headed by The SHIFT Project in Byron Bay.
SHIFT recently expanded after relocating to a commercial venue in the industrial estate and this has enabled them to start delivering The Linen Shift – which is an innovative laundry service providing training, employment and support to women experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
“This new initiative aims to disrupt homelessness by increasing employability, financial well-being and community connection with the women themselves contributing through the work they do,” said Anne Goslett SHIFT Founder/Managing Director.
Thanks to a $29,000 grant from ETC, SHIFT was able to purchase a commercial sized washing machine and dryer to help fit out the new premises.
“Due to the quality of the equipment we’ve been able to provide specialist laundry services to 5 Star accommodation providers locally – such as Elements of Byron, 45 on Lawson and Beach Bure,” Ms Goslett said.
Local woman Melanie has been accessing the services of SHIFT and is grateful for the support.
“They have helped me through some tough times in my life. After both my parents died from cancer (with me caring for them) and then I crashed my car not long after that, I had a meltdown,” Melanie said.
“So the caring ladies at SHIFT took me into their home with no pressure and gave me time to heal. Slowly I started to get involved in the Linen SHIFT, which I actually found to be quite meditative and not too overwhelming.”
According to Ms Goslett, SHIFT started with just one house, five years ago and has now grown to have a second house, plus the commercial premises for Linen SHIFT, laundry with a conscience.
“We’ve supported around 50 women during that time and of those, 95% percent no longer live on the streets and have not returned to their previous lifestyle. All of our clients have some kind of employment moving forward by the time they leave us, with some also going to University,” she said.
“I just really appreciate the support from ETC. So we really appreciate the belief in our project, but also the encouragement to move forward and really get this enterprise up and running. Thank you.”
Melanie encouraged other women to seek support from the SHIFT Project.
“For whatever reason it is that you’re feeling vulnerable, whether it’s really dire situations like domestic violence or history of addiction or just feeling a bit displaced in society, the SHIFT Project is a really beautiful, supportive environment,” Melanie said.
ETC Director Isabel Borelli, said it was a pleasure to be able to support The SHIFT Project Byron Inc.
“The ETC Community Support Fund is designed to help organisations reduce disadvantage, generate opportunity, increase support services and/or build capacity in the communities in which we operate,” Ms Borelli said.
“Since 2012 we have given back $1 million to local communities through the ETC Community Support Fund. We are proud to be a not-for-profit company.”
Are you a woman who is homeless or at risk of homelessness and needs support? Please reach out to the SHIFT Project team on 02 6685 8477.
Or if you would like to support the SHIFT Project – you can volunteer or donate. Find out more at https://shiftproject.org.au/get-involved/
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