Community Engagement spurs cycle of good
A social enterprise model that not only supports the Illawarra’s refugee community but also provides an effective recycling service received one of last year’s grants for the UOW Community Engagement Grant Scheme.
GreenConnect offers paid work experience to a team of 30 refugees to undertake waste collection at local events and festivals. To date, only 8% of the team’s overall collection has gone to landfill.
Program Manager Robynne Murphy is responsible for providing skills training to the refugee team with a focus on fostering a sense of ownership for the enterprise. The program provides experience in an Australian workplace, training in first aid and occupational health and safety and the opportunity to practice applied English skills.
Founded by Strategic Community Assistance to Refugee Families (SCARF) the project saw UOW science student Ingrid Errington take on the reigns to secure a contract for greenConnect’s services at the Wollongong Council's Viva La Gong festival, the 2011 Illawarra Folk Festival and this year’s Brekky on the Beach.
“At the beginning of the year we had a team of 24 from the refugee community around Wollongong that helped sort the recycling at the Illawarra Folk Festival,” Ms Errington said.
“That was a massive success, so we thought that we could turn that into a more ongoing project,” she said.
The group’s work has been so successful that interest from local event organizers shows a positive outlook for more future work. Funding from CEGS has assisted GreenCONNECT pay their staff wages.
Operating as a clever intermediate labour market model, greenConnect is one of the various projects that were supported through the CEGS in 2010.
Project Title: greenConnect
Project Leader: Ingrid Errington, Faculty of Science