Q: What does a park, a van and dirty laundry have in common?
A: Best mates Nic Marchesi and Lucas Patchett, the 2016 Young Australians of the Year, and founders of Orange Sky Laundry, a world first free mobile laundry service for the homeless.
Lucas and Nic present their story of innovation, fast growth, social entrepreneurship, the impact of social media and how really simple ideas can have enormous impact.
Orange Sky Laundry began in October 2014, when, at the age of 20, best mates Nic Marchesi and Lucas Patchett had a really crazy idea to put two washing machines and dryers in the back of an old van. Orange Sky Laundry was born. Since then, the world first idea has rapidly expanded to 11 vans across Brisbane, Melbourne, SE Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney, Canberra, Hobart, Perth, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Wollongong.
Run by 650 volunteers across the country, the custom-fitted vans with two commercial washing machines and two dryers service 73 locations and wash more than 6.5 tonnes of laundry a week.
A catalyst for conversation, Orange Sky Laundry facilitates over 1300 hours of volunteering and conversation each week. The organisation has also responded to natural disasters, helping cyclone-affected communities in North Queensland, residents of the Great Ocean Road Bushfires, and more recently, Adelaide flood victims.
Orange Sky Laundry to date has washed over 300,000 kgs of free laundry, but most importantly, fostered over 80,000 hours of positive, genuine and non-judgemental conversation.
Nic and Lucas have found a way to treat others the way they want to be treated by restoring respect, raising health standards and reducing the strain on resources. As they continue to expand services Australia-wide, they aim to positively connect the community and improve the lives of others.
They have been named QLD Young Achievers of the Year, Finalists for the Telstra Business Awards, Finalists for the AIM Leadership Excellence Awards, and Finalists for the Brisbane Young Entrepreneur of the Year.