A fledgling social enterprise which aims to employ and train people with disabilities, injuries, illnesses or other barriers to employment is looking for premises in Strathpine or Brendale to kickstart its operations.
Restore Social Enterprises is the brainchild of co-founders Seath Holswich, Trevor Ruthenberg and Peter Murphy with a goal of restoring hope, dignity and independence.
The trio first discussed the concept in 2020, after the idea came to Seath the previous year and they realised they shared concerns about training gaps for different cohorts including disability, mature-age and long-term unemployed.
In March 2021, they had their first unofficial committee meeting and became incorporated not long after that.
Since then, they have been doing the groundwork to be ready to launch Restore with gusto and employ people who need their support and training.
How it will work
The organisation will employ people from their target cohort, ensuring they earn a wage while being trained.
“We talk about restoring lives. It’s not just about restoring them in a work sense, it’s about making sure that their whole life is functioning and functioning well,” Seath explains.
“A big part of that is making sure that they can feel the confidence boost that actually having a paid job brings but also teaching them how to manage their finances.”
He says this will be an important aspect of the training and support the organisation will provide because many people who have been unemployed for a long time struggle to manage their money when they start working again.
Restore will have a financial counsellor who will meet with every employee just before each pay day for the whole time they are with the organisation.
The aim is to set them up to be successful in life long after they leave Restore.
Seath says there will be no time limit, but the goal is for employees to move on to other employment when they are ready.
“It’s as long as it takes for someone and our success factors at the end of that will be that they get a job with another employer where we help with that onboarding process, we help them to start their own small business and make that successful or they’re promoted within Restore,” he says.
“We have no doubt we’ll employ plenty of people who we don’t want to let go of and who will be able to actually go up to a whole new level and be able to train other people.”
What needs to happen now?
In the meantime, the organisation needs a premises to operate from.
“The things that we want to start initially are furniture restoration and the Household Library but we need a premises to run those out of,” Seath says.
He’s looking for premises for the Household Library in the Strathpine/Brendale area which Seath says would be ideal due to easy access to public transport. There is also high need for support and household goods in the district.
“The Household Library will set up a service which is open to the public. You think of a book library but instead of books the shelves are filled with power tools, camping equipment, sporting equipment, jigsaws, party equipment … so you can become a member of the library and instead of buying things you need, you come and borrow them,” Seath explains.
He says it is an environmentally sustainable model which would divert items from landfill. It would also ease cost-of-living pressures for people in the region, who can borrow rather than buy after they pay a membership fee each year.
Seath says Restore needs 100sqm of retail or commercial space for the library initially, but the ultimate goal is to have multiple sites in the Moreton Bay Region.
He is also looking for a space to run the furniture restoration arm of Restore.
“We can get things up and running as quickly as we have the opportunity to,” Seath says.
“The sky’s the limit. For us the main criteria are … will it create jobs for people and will it benefit the environment in some way. We talk about restoring lives and restoring the planet.”
If you can help by providing premises, corporate sponsorship or other support, visit the website or phone 0423 160 945.
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