Supporting Mental Health Through Social Enterprise

10 Apr 2016

We are delighted to announce support for Toowoomba Clubhouse for their role model social enterprise venture. Driven by the inspiration of Luke Terry, Executive Director of Toowoomba Clubhouse, Vanguard Laundry Services will provide employment for people with a lived experience in mental illness. Through employment and mentoring Vanguard aims to empower individuals to break free from the cycle of disadvantage.Vanguard Logo

Media Release

Toowoomba Clubhouse receives major boost for role model social enterprise venture

The Paul Ramsay Foundation, has awarded $600,000 to an innovative social enterprise venture in Toowoomba, South West Queensland.

Toowoomba Clubhouse Executive Director Luke Terry initiated the idea of a commercial laundry business that will create over 60 career and training opportunities per year for people with a lived experience of mental illness. The project, called Vanguard Laundry Services, is already underway with the project already securing more than $2,000,000 from government and other supporters,

“The Paul Ramsay Foundation is excited to be able to support Vanguard and Luke Terry, a serial social entrepreneur, in their plans to create an innovative social enterprise providing employment for people with a lived experience of mental illness who are long term unemployed.

Vanguard Laundry Services had an obvious fit with the Foundation’s desire to fund organisations which seek to empower both our Toowoomba Clubhouse Logocommunities and individuals to fulfil their potential. We see this as not only underlining our current focus towards mental health but also our commitment to exploring scalable and sustainable solutions to Australia’s most pressing social problems,” said Simon Freeman, CEO of The Foundation.

Mr Terry said he was thrilled to have received news of the $600,000 donation and noted that mental health issues are a major focus for the organisation.

“For those of us working in this sector it is exciting to see that Australia’s largest private Foundation has targeted mental health as a beneficiary for multi-faceted support. “Last year the Paul Ramsay Foundation engaged in a six year partnership with The Black Dog Institute to tackle suicide prevention in Australia.

“Aside from the clear goals of the Paul Ramsay Foundation, it also makes good long term economic sense to address mental healthcare in this country. In 2013, renowned economist Nicholas Gruen, estimated that the cost of mental health issues in Australia could be as much as A$190 billion per year.

“And of course there is the integral link between mental health and employment. A job creates a sense of social engagement and interaction – one of the most critical elements of mental wellbeing.

“Work is linked to improved physical wellbeing, community participation, self-confidence, a sense of control, and a socially valued sense of identity.

“Ät Toowoomba Clubhouse we see this on a daily basis. Toowoomba’s first official impact investment social enterprise, called Ability Enterprise, aimed to create employment and training opportunities for people who for people with a lived experience of mental illness. The social enterprise runs a $2.5m contract for Toowoomba regional council managing the boom gates at 14 waste transfer facilities”

“The business has gone from strength to strength, employing 45 staff members and is continuing to grow with an established business plan.” he said.

Mr Terry said the Paul Ramsay Foundation funds would further gather momentum for Vanguard Laundry Services to begin trade later in 2016.

“The land has been donated by a local property developer and have a nine year anchor contract from St Vincent’s Health Australia so we are well on the way to making the project a reality.

“This project opens doors for other social enterprise ventures and demonstrates the many tangible benefits when community, business and government support these opportunities around Australia,” he said.