10 April 2017
A Star News Group Publication
It’s no trick says magician, just think big!
Captain Oscar looks to lead by example
He’s got a bee in his bonnet Colin Robinson is mad about hats and history and is sharing his collection at the Springvale and District Historical Society. 166767 ■ Read his story on page 3. Picture: GARY SISSONS
■ Social businesses launched to tackle unemployment…
Out on the Streat A lifeline is on its way for Dandenong’s unemployed youth. Social enterprise STREAT plans to run up to 10 businesses to create jobs in the region within the next three years, its founder Rebecca Scott revealed at a SEBN Industry Breakfast at Highways in Springvale on Thursday 6 April. “We found a cluster of need in the Dandenong region,” she told her audience. “We want to operate substantial businesses here in three years’ time. “We will be committing to being in Dandenong for decades and decades.
“We want to be deeply embedded in your community.” Ms Scott spent a decade with the CSIRO before establishing STREAT in 2009. It provides employment and training to young people in need. The flagship STREAT cafe is in Collingwood and there are smaller sites around inner Melbourne. It all started when Ms Scott met a homeless boy while on holidays in Vietnam in 2004 and wondered whose responsibility he was. “I couldn’t get that small boy out of my mind,” she said. “Was he my responsibility?” On a return trip to Vietnam, Ms Scott ordered
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rice paper rolls in a cafe and while waiting for her meal discovered the eatery, KOTO, was a training ground for homeless young people. “I sat crying into my rice paper rolls,” she said. She walked away thinking that business was a solution. “The meal that I’m eating right now is helping the young person that I’ve just spoken to,” she said. Ms Scott gave up her science career and signed up to work with KOTO. Her partner Kate Barrelle joined her and they spent several years on the project. “We decided to come back to Australia and help the homeless on our doorstep,” she said. “The hundreds of young people that we have
helped have proved to me that with the right support, business can change lives,” she said. The STREAT team includes psychologists, youth workers and social workers. Ms Scott said half had been involved in the juvenile justice system, 90 per cent had mental health issues and 60 per cent had experienced homelessness. “Seven years on I’m as optimistic as I was when we started STREAT that with the right supports within your business that young people, no matter where they’ve come from, can achieve great things,” she said. – See page 41 for more from the SEBN event’s guest speakers.
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By Casey Neill