Melbourne, the capital of the state of Victoria, home to the AFL (Australian Football League), the Australian Open Tennis and Neighbours (to name but a few…). It is a food mecca and a coffee lovers’ dream.
Consistently ranked in the top 10 cities in the world to live it has a thriving art, music and start-up scene. This includes a growing social enterprise scene with so much choice it’s possible to eat, drink and even sh*t for social good…
A social(ly) enterprising day out in Melbourne
0830 – Alarm sounds…
Time for a quick trip to the dunny (Aussie for toilet)
Who Gives a Crap – “Toilet paper that builds toilets”
Great design, brilliant concept and 50% of profits help build toilets and improve sanitation in the developing world! Launched following a highly successful crowdfunder that raised over $50,000 AUD after co-founder Simon Griffiths sat on a toilet in a cold warehouse for 50 hours in the Australian winter of 2012. The range now includes tissues and kitchen roll, all of which are made from 100% recycled fibres. As Who Gives a Crap says “good for the earth, good for people, good for your bum”.
Originally started as Thankyou Water in 2008 in response to the World Water Crisis (bottled water that funds water projects), the social enterprise recently rebranded in 2013 when it added two new ranges (food and body care). Earlier this year (2016) Thankyou launched Thankyou Baby. 100% of Thankyou profits go to people in need.And when you buy one of their products you can use the ID tracker on it to find out more info about the project the product you have bought will fund.
0900 – And I’m off, let the social enterprise day continue…
I ride into the CBD (central business district aka Melbourne city centre) stopping off at Good Cycles for a bike service while I go and meet a friend.
Australia’s first 100% not-for-profit bike shop and repair centre. Good Cycles is based at Docklands where they have a shop, service centre and run workshops. They also offer a mobile service with bicycle mechanics cycling to people in the city while they are at work, university etc.
Founded in 2012 Good Cycles provides training, employment and direct ongoing support to people who might not find work otherwise. This includes people who have been experiencing homelessness, substance abuse, domestic violence, mental illness and disability.
1000 – Coffee time
Bike dropped off I head to meet a friend for a coffee at…
STREAT – “Tastes good. Does good.”
STREAT is a multi-award winning social enterprise that tackles youth unemployment and disadvantage in Melbourne. Launched as a mobile street cart in 2010, the organisation now runs eight interconnected businesses (five cafes, a catering company, an artisan bakery and a coffee roastery). Since its launch, it has trained and supported over 520 young people, and they’ve helped serve meals and coffees to over 1.5 million customers!
I stop to pick up the latest issue of The Big Issue
Independent media at its best! Launched in Australia in Melbourne in 1996, The Big Issue Australia is now a fortnightly magazine with a circulation of over 26,000. Since its launch more than 10 million people have sold The Big Issue, generating $23 million AUD in income for its vendors.
The Big Issue is a “street paper” – an independent magazine or newspaper that is bought at a percentage of the cover price by homeless, marginalised or disadvantaged people who become micro-entrepreneurs selling the magazine on and keeping the profits. There are over 100 street paper social enterprises in 30+ countries (read more about street papers around the world at www.insp.ngo).
The Big Issue Australia also runs several other enterprises including The Women’s Subscription Enterprise, The Big Issue Classroom, The Big Idea and Community Street Soccer (click on the links to find out more).
1100 – Time to explore
Jumping back on my bike, I head up to Collingwood in Melbourne’s inner north to check out the latest designs at the Social Studio.
Based on Smith Street in the centre of Collingwood, the Social Studio is a retail clothing store, digital printing studio and café. Founded in 2009, the Social Studio is dedicated to improving the lives of young Australians who come from a refugee or migrant background and who may have experienced barriers to accessing education and/or securing employment. Social Studio provides training, work experience, volunteer opportunities and employment opportunities and pathways.
1300 – Lunch!
Taking the Merri Creek trail I stop off at The Abbotsford Convent for some lunch at Lentil As Anything
Delicious vegan food, great environment, amazing location…Founded in 2000, Lentil As Anything also has restaurants in St Kilda, Footscray and Preston in Melbourne as well as one in Sydney. Staffed by volunteers the restaurant is based on a “Pay As You Feel” model with a helpful sign displayed to give guidance on what you might want to contribute.
The Abbotsford Convent, where Lentil As Anything is based, is a fantastic place to spend a few hours. A former convent located beside the Merri Creek trail, it is a not-for-profit multi-arts precinct housing over 100 studios, two galleries, cafes, a radio station, school and lots of beautiful green space. Each year the Convent hosts a range of exhibitions, markets, workshops and events, including an outdoor cinema.
1600 – Merri Creek continued…
Back on my bike I head along the Merri Creek to…
CERES (Centre for Education and Research in Environmental Strategies) Community Environment Park is an award winning, not-for-profit, sustainability centre located on 4.5 hectares on the Merri Creek in East Brunswick. It runs environmental education programs, urban agriculture projects, green technology demonstrations and a number of social enterprises including a market, grocery, café, community kitchen, organic online supermarket and a permaculture and bushfood nursery. Enterprises include CERES Fair Food, CERES Global, The Merri Table and CERES Nursery (click on the links to find out more).
1800 – Dinner!
Conveniently located on Gertrude Street in Fitzroy, Mission Australia’s social enterprise restaurant combines a restaurant specialising in native flavours with a comprehensive training program for young people who have experienced barriers to employment.
Charcoal Lane enables Aboriginal and other young people to gain both accredited hospitality qualifications and professional experience as part of a supportive development program. The program also helps build trainees’ confidence and self-esteem. On completing traineeships young people are well prepared to move into careers in hospitality or other industries.