Hitting The Road To Help The Homeless With Orange Sky

Homelessness in Australia has increased 13.7% in 5 years. Every night, over 116,000 people sleep rough or are without a home to call their own. For these people, basics like cleaning their clothes or having a hot shower are a challenge. Our partners, Orange Sky, provide Australians doing it tough with access to regular laundry and shower services, along with some friendly conversation along the way.

The power of hot water and conversation

Orange Sky Australia is the world’s first free mobile laundry service for people experiencing homelessness. Their mission is to positively connect communities by providing free safe hot showers and clean clothes to those doing it tough around Australia.

In late 2014, two 20-year-old mates, Nic Marchesi and Lucas Patchett, wanted to improve hygiene standards and restore dignity to people doing it tough. Working from a Brisbane garage, they installed a couple of washing machines and dryers in the back of their old van and visited parks around Brisbane to wash and dry clothes for free.

What started as an idea to help out people doing it tough in their own community has evolved into something much bigger and more powerful. There are now 31 Orange Sky services operating across Australia, creating a safe, positive and supportive environment for people who are too often ignored or who feel disconnected from community.

Because although clean clothes are important, what really makes the difference is the hours of conversation on the organisation’s orange chairs that are pulled out at every location.

Since it began, Orange Sky has provided 1.7 million kilograms of free laundry, 18,000 hot showers and over 300,000 hours of genuine and non-judgemental conversation, helping to challenge the perception of homelessness and positively connect communities all around Australia.

And despite having to pause shifts at the beginning of the pandemic, Orange Sky Co-Founder and CEO Lucas Patchett said it wouldn’t be long before shifts numbers were at a higher level than before COVID-19. 

“In March 2020, we could never have predicted or expected what has happened over the past 16 months,” Lucas said.

“We’ve seen how the community has rallied around each other during this time and found a way to get through it together. Although we don’t know what the rest of this year has in store for us, we hope that services like Orange Sky can make a difference in the world.”

Connecting with our community

We appointed Orange Sky Australia as our new national fundraising partner in August 2019.

For almost two years we’ve been working together to raise awareness and support for the more 116,000 Australians that are doing it tough. Orange Sky offers regular volunteering opportunities to the Bank of Queensland Group and we're proud to have a number of our staff across the country getting involved and supporting their community.

All this month, the BOQ network will be raising funds to support the vital services Orange Sky provides. Click here to find out how you can show your support for BOQ's Orange Sky July.