Toowoomba social enterprises share Queensland Government grants

Minister for Employment and Small Business and Minister for Training and Skills Development The Honourable Di Farmer

The Palaszczuk Government’s Community Social Enterprise Development Grants have invested $95,000 in Toowoomba to support a new clean hospital waste recycling project, a commercial laundry, two cafes, and op shops.

Minister for Employment and Small Business and Minister for Training and Skills Development Di Farmer said one of the five local grant recipients was Ability Enterprises Ltd which provides employment opportunities to marginalised people, focussing on those with a disability or living with mental illness.

“Operating for more than 10 years, the social enterprise has small businesses across waste management, maintenance, administration, car washing and cleaning industries and the grant will help them expand into clean medical waste recycling,” Minister Farmer said.

“In partnership with Envorinex and GreenMed the project will provide a sustainable solution to clean medical waste, while providing additional work opportunities for disadvantaged people.

“All up our Community Social Enterprise Development Grants have committed more than $600,000 through 36 grants to social enterprises across the state including five Toowoomba operations.

“Another local grant recipient is the social enterprise café, 2nd Shot, run by Base Services for more than 20 years. They will use the grant to buy new kitchen equipment as part of their move from a “hole in the wall” to a retail café space.

“This café expansion allows for the business to grow as well and provide more training and job opportunities to disadvantaged people.

“The Emerge Café, which employs and trains homeless young people, will use its grant to develop a new website, a marketing campaign, and purchase barriers and umbrellas to expand their outdoor café dining area to increase capacity.

“Purpose Enterprises, which operates the Vanguard Commercial Laundry, will also use the grant for expansion to fund new stock and new services.

“The laundry employs people from backgrounds of social disadvantage. People working with this social enterprise undertake a robust system of personal and professional development, delivered by Vanguard’s Social Impact Team, out of its in-house Social Impact Centre and are offered assistance to find a job.

“A grant to Lifeline Darling Downs and South West will help purchase an industrial paper shredder to manage the recycling of waste books from its 21 Op shops and provide extra work experience and employment opportunities.

“The project aims to ensure that effective procedures are implemented for the handling, storage, transportation and disposal of waste that is generated from the recycling waste books.”

Minister Farmer said social enterprises played an important role in Queensland’s economic recovery.

“Getting communities and local economies on track for future growth again are important goals of the Queensland Government’s COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan,” Minister Farmer said.

“The recovery plan places a focus on backing small businesses and investing in skills and many social enterprises are doing both. That’s why we will deliver $3 million worth of grants to the sector as part of our Social Enterprise Jobs Fund.

“The Community Social Enterprise Development Grants are the first to be awarded through the fund, and applications for the next grants – our Social Enterprise Growth Grants – are open from today.

“Across the state, social enterprises are providing needed services and products for the wider community, which in turn provide jobs and training opportunities. Growing this sector will provide more support and benefits to people across Queensland.”

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