In October 2014, two best mates had a crazy idea to put two washing machines and two dryers in the back of a van, and wash and dry clothes for free. Nicholas Marchesi and Lucas Patchett, the 2016 Young Australians of the Year, founded Orange Sky – a world-first, free mobile laundry service for people experiencing homelessness. On a mission to improve hygiene standards, Nic and Lucas stumbled on something much bigger and more significant – the power of a conversation.
Orange Sky now has 29 laundry and shower services operating across the country, with thousands of volunteers giving their time each week to help positively connect some of the 116,000 Australians doing it tough. The focus is on creating a safe, welcoming and supportive environment for people who are too often ignored or feel disconnected from the community. Over the past four and a half years, Orange Sky has provided friends on the street with more than 1,000,000kg of free laundry, over 10,000 showers and close to 200,000 hours of genuine and non-judgemental conversation.