Orange Sky brightens Mackay

Orange Sky Australia has launched a world first van in Mackay that will provide free laundry and shower services for people doing it tough across the region.

The hybrid vehicle is the first of its kind to be built by Orange Sky, and will help to service the needs of the entire community through laundry, showers and non-judgemental conversations.

The launch of the van, named ‘Don’, was made possible by the Mackay Drop-In Centre and IDEAL Placements. It is the 20th Orange Sky van in operation across Australia, with 16 laundry vans and three shower vans also on the road.

Orange Sky co-founders, Nic Marchesi and Lucas Patchett, were named 2016 Young Australians of the Year for their work in establishing the organisation.

Nic said he was excited to extend Orange Sky’s reach further across the state. “Since Orange Sky kicked off in October 2014, we have been continually blown away by the support we’ve received and how well the vans have been integrated into a range of communities,” he said.

“We can’t wait for Don to start making an impact in the Mackay region.” While laundry and showers are what Orange Sky provide, Lucas said it was the conversations that would have the biggest impact.

“Our six orange chairs are the most important part of our service. It’s where our friends who attend our shifts have the opportunity to sit and build relationships with volunteers through genuine and non-judgmental conversations,’’ he said.

Mackay Drop-In Centre Chairperson Alison Jones said she was thrilled to have played a role in bringing Orange Sky to the region.

“This service will be run by the community, funded by the community, for the community,’’ she said.

Kathy Dine from IDEAL Placements said it was a localised effort to raise the funds needed to launch the van.

“One of the fundraisers that contributed was the annual Mackay Sleep out where the Mackay community slept outside to help raise awareness of our hidden homeless crisis. IDEAL Placements has always had a strong sense of community and this is another step towards supporting our region,” she said.

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