"That hour is the most powerful thing we offer," says Orange Sky Laundry co-founder, Lucas Patchett. "All we ask of our volunteers is that they're present in that moment. We're not preaching, we're not selling anything, but our guiding principle is that every interaction should be positive and genuine."
There are now five services operating across the east coast of Australia, manned by a dedicated and enthusiastic team of volunteers. Lucas says the service aims to harness the energy of people who want to volunteer but may struggle to find ways to connect with their community.
"Anyone can get involved, and you definitely don't need to be an expert in laundry," he says. Volunteers don't need to be experts in communication either, because one of the unexpected benefits of the service is that it gives volunteers the tools and techniques to help them engage with new people. "We've had volunteers start with us and in the beginning they've been a bit shy or reserved. But after just a few months we see their confidence grow and they blossom into really chatty people who love coming to their shifts. We have one volunteer in Melbourne who does a three-hour round trip and does a double shift every week because he gets so much out of it."