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Volunteer for Orange Sky Laundry

Home > Sydney > Charity | Free | Volunteering
by Emily Saint-Smith (subscribe)
Writer, theatre enthusiast and foodie. Proud Mum to Humphrey Bogart the Pug.
Published January 28th 2016
Connecting with the community one wash at a time
Looking for a unique volunteering opportunity? Then Orange Sky Laundry is looking for you!

Devised by two 20 year old best mates from Brisbane, Orange Sky Laundry provides a free, mobile laundry service for the homeless. The laundry service is run from the back of a custom fitted van, which sets up at food-van sites across Sydney. There are two 10kg washers and dryers in the van, complete with washing detergent, all kindly donated by a range of supporters.

Orange Sky Laundry, volunteer, homeless, community, washing, sydney, van
Orange Sky Laundry founders Nicholas Marchesi and Lucas Patchett

A wash takes about an hour, and that time is where this unique service really comes into its own. Volunteers sit with the clients and share in open, honest conversation.

"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.

Orange Sky Laundry, volunteer, homeless, community, washing, sydney, van
Clean clothes can give a sense of dignity to the homeless

"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."

Orange Sky Laundry, volunteer, homeless, community, washing, sydney, van
Conversation is the most powerful thing we offer - Lucas Patchett

Lucas and his Orange Sky Laundry co-founder, Nicholas Marchesi, were recently honoured as the 2016 Young Australians of the Year. They aim to continue to roll out the world-first service across Australia and internationally, and are looking for more volunteers to get involved.

Lucas says: "We're pretty relaxed and we run the service the same way. It's a unique volunteering opportunity in that you spend just two minutes working and the rest of the time having a chat! It really opens your eyes to a huge subsection of society that most people have never been connected with before."

To volunteer or donate to the Orange Sky Laundry, visit:

You can also follow Orange Sky Laundry on Facebook:
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Why? Get connected with your community
When: Shift times vary depending on location
Where: Across Sydney
Cost: Free
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