Alchemy’s 1+1 Social Impact Program launches with a focus on improving the lives of Victorians in marginalised communities.
Last year at Alchemy, we decided after a big period of growth that it was time to find a way to give back to the community.
And we didn’t want to do the usual morning teas and sponsored cycles – we wanted to dig deeper into our values and do something that would have a long-lasting, sustainable impact on the communities we build in. What we noticed when submitting tenders and building social infrastructure projects was, that often, the areas we were building in were at a social disadvantage. Although we provide new and improved community spaces, there is still work that needs to be done to help the people living within these communities.
Jamie Nicolson, Alchemy’s Co-Founder explains, “I think the business has a responsibility to do good things, rather than just build and walk away. What else can we do as a company in the towns and regions where we build, to help address some of the social issues that exist?”
“I think the business has a responsibility to do good things, rather than just build and walk away.”
Having specialised in building schools, a CSR project revealed itself thanks to Pre-Construction Manager Liam Casey. Liam brought to light the work of CLANN, an organisation that helps train carers so that they can get paid work, rather than carrying out unpaid work in the home.
“The government stats were telling us that in many of the regions we build in, the number of unpaid carers is high, ranging from 23% sometimes up to a staggering 43%. So we have partnered with CLANN to up-skill carers in those areas, and fund their training so they can become qualified and paid for what they do. Start their own small business if you like.”
“The government stats were telling us that in many of the regions we build in, the number of unpaid carers (usually mothers or female family members) is high, ranging from 23% sometimes up to a staggering 43%.”
Sarah-Anne Munro, Co-Founder of Alchemy explains, “Often families living in the areas we build in struggle to find work. There might be a language barrier and they may not have the network, time or means to access paid work. And because childcare is so expensive, they often don’t have a choice but to work, unpaid, in the home. By giving them access to CLANN, which acts kind of like an Uber for carers, they can receive training and certification to care professionally, meaning that they can care for the people they are already looking after and be paid for their hard work. It’s really a game-changer.”
The program is not only working to reduce social disadvantage but is also helping with another cause close to Alchemy’s heart. “We’re trying really hard to address gender inequality, not only across Alchemy and the sector,” says Sarah-Anne, “but also in the communities that we build in. We hope this carers program, will help those unpaid carers to get paid and recognised for the work they do at home and for others in their community.”
Currently, we’re in the process of recruiting future carers in the Newlands Primary School and Strathaird Primary School region, as well as carers at Alfred Health with the help of CLANN. We will fund their training and certification to become carers and start their own small business.