Today, these industries are shedding jobs and the region has one of the highest unemployment rates in Australia. This has made life more difficult and has affected some groups more than others. Wollongong has a big refugee population, and only 31% of refugees have a job 5 years after resettlement. In Port Kembla and Warrawong, where we’re based, youth unemployment sits at 22 to 36%.
Green Connect was set up to tackle three things:
Green Connect is a social enterprise which focuses on creating more jobs for former refugees and young people, less waste, and fair food – by which we mean food that’s good for those who eat it, those who grow it, and the planet.
We do all this with and within our community, to make this beautiful place, and life, better.
Green Connect is a social enterprise within Community Resources Ltd, a national not-for-profit organisation focused on creating jobs that make a difference to people and the planet.
Community Resources started in Tuncurry, NSW, more than 30 years ago. It now comprises of more than seven social enterprises including:
Resource Recovery Australia, which operates re-use stores, community recycling centres and transfer stations, a problem waste mobile community recycling service and waste education programs in partnership with councils across NSW, WA and the ACT.
Soft Landing, a national mattress recycling social enterprise that works with local government, bedding retailers, manufacturers and a range of commercial, government and community partners to divert waste mattresses from landfill and recover the components for re-use and recycling.
Waste Aid Australia, which works alongside Aboriginal communities to leverage their own skills and expertise to co-design and deliver waste solutions on their own land.
Helping Hands, a local community-based care and building provider that provides services to the aged and those living with a disability to ensure they can remain in their own homes safely, for as long as possible.
Homebase Youth Services, a dedicated local youth and Aboriginal service, providing services in the Great Lakes area for over 27 years.
Great Lakes and Manning Youth Homelessness Service, which provides specialist homelessness services to young people across the MidCoast Council region
It is only possible to operate a small to medium enterprise with lofty social and environmental aims when you have a team of wonderful, hardworking, clever, warmhearted people in and around Green Connect. We benefit from the tireless efforts of many and are a proud community of people coming together to create more jobs, less waste and fair food. Our management team is made up of:
Kylie Flament, General Manager
Bron Williams, HR & Labour Hire Manager
Cal Champagne, Farm Manager
Jacqui Besgrove, Zero Waste Manager
Kept 2,653 tonnes of waste out of landfill
Grew and distributed 20,628kg of chemical free food
Employed 106 former refugees and young people