From left to right: Giovanni Italiano, Mayor of the City of Stirling; Janine Freeman, MLA Member for Mirrabooka Australian Labor Party; Lee Broomhall, CEO Workpower.
Since August last year, we’ve been working with the City of Stirling to manage Balcatta Recycling Centre (BRC), delivering on a triple bottom line of sustainability, financial performance, and creating opportunities for people with disability. Last Friday, this sustainable partnership was awarded the Disability Employment Services (DES) Provider/Local Government Partnership Award at the 2017 Lighthouse Awards! In a partnership between the Disability Services Commission (DSC) and Local Government Professionals WA, the Lighthouse Project aims to increase employment of people with disability in the WA local government.
The partnership began in early 2016, when the City of Stirling decided to explore opportunities to support people with disability. They contacted a number of disability enterprises to look at potential partnerships and selected Workpower to run the centre. Both parties developed a comprehensive integrated business model working closely with the City to improve amenities and infrastructure and provide accessibility and employment opportunities to those with disability.
Since reopening in October 2016, BRC sees approximately 16,000 visitors each month – 5,000 of which are through the re-saleable goods area – and diverts 400 tons of waste a month from the landfill – almost 5,000 tons every year!
BRC is a self-sufficient, integrated social enterprise, and we take pride in 50% of our workforce being people with disability, and all staff being paid the full award rate for their industry. This takes the pressure off social service payments and provides them some disposable income and freedom.
To the employees, it’s more than a job. Alongside a boost in self-esteem, confidence, and a sense of belonging and value, they also develop skills that can help grow their careers.
Workpower’s Executive Manager Enterprise Development Peter May called it the ‘perfect opportunity’ for the City to build greater awareness of those with disability. And with a constant flow of visitors it provides a great chance for the employees to engage with the public.
The partnership has improved waste management and safety outcomes for the City of Stirling, and proceeds go towards the sustainable disposal of non-commercial wastes, such as glass, polystyrene, and plastics.
Congratulations to both the City of Stirling, Workpower, and all the devoted employees at BRC for receiving the Lighthouse Award and working hard to achieve the perfect match for social, environmental, and safety outcomes.
Feel free to drop by the BRC to do your part in recycling or pick up a hidden gem in our shop!.