A little bit of context
The Illawarra was built on mining and manufacturing - industries that created jobs but also had environmental effects.
When these industries started to decline, the region's unemployment grew. It was particularly bad for young people and former refugees, many of whom had never worked in Australia.
Here’s what we’re doing about it
So Green Connect was set up to create jobs in industries that help the environment - reducing waste and growing fair food.
Today, Green Connect is an award-winning social enterprise that employs 17 people on an ongoing basis and 100 people on a casual basis across our four arms:
- Our world-leading permaculture farm in Warrawong
- Our zero waste services that help businesses, schools and events to be as sustainable as possible
- Our popular op shop in Bellambi
- Our staffing solutions team, providing labour hire and recruitment services to connect our hardworking employees to other opportunities
We can do more
80% of what we do is funded by the income we get from our business arms.
The 20% that isn't funded is all the support we offer to young people and former refugees - help organising transport and paperwork, explaining rights and responsibilities at work, coaching on performance or work etiquette (like how to call in sick and what to do if your manager asks you to do something you don't want to), and the list goes on...
For every $1 that we get in grants or donations, we do $5 of good in the local community.
And for each person we support into long-term employment, that's life changing.
Take Scott*, for example, who left school early having had difficulty learning, partly due to his autism, and being bullied at two different schools. He came from a single-parent family and his Mum wanted the best for him but didn't know how to help him. She told us she despaired for his future. Scott joined Green Connect, doing work experience on the farm and he quickly built his skills and confidence. His Mum couldn't believe the change in him. We could see he was ready for employment and offered him paid work in our zero waste team, where he thrived. He started making plans for his future and secured himself ongoing employment in a plant nursery.
*Name changed for privacy
Can you help?
We are so thankful for all the support we have had over the years and are honoured to be part of the Illawarra community. We have plans to be self-sustaining within five years but need your help in the meantime.
Can you pitch in some funds to help us to keep Green Connect growing?
What's in it for you
All donations are tax-deductible so you can claim some back on tax.
You're helping build a stronger, healthier, better community in Wollongong. The more jobs there are in industries that help the environment, the better off we'll all be.
You'll be top of our list for invitations to the best events Wollongong has to offer - Green Connect community days!
You'll sleep well knowing you've done a great thing.