Roots of Change is a storytelling platform dedicated to the Alumni community of The Funding Network Australia. Here we share their stories of ingenuity, courage, determination, spirit, growth and the impact these grassroots organisations have had, as a direct result of funds and support received from The Funding Network community.

Vanguard Laundry

Vanguard Laundry


Providing jobs and career opportunities for people with an experience of mental illness who struggle to secure work.

Vanguard Laundry Services (VLS) is a social enterprise commercial laundry based in Toowoomba; purpose-built to provide jobs and career opportunities for people with an experience of mental illness who struggle to secure work.

2017 Pitch
Funds raised: $26,310

Vanguard Laundry pitched at TFN Sydney in March 2017 to raise funds to contribute to new equipment required for the laundry that will help them to further growth, create more jobs and career opportunities for people who have been long-term unemployed because of mental illness. 

The impact... 

For people living with mental illness, employment can be a pathway to recovery and independence. In Australia, mental health affects more people than cancer and diabetes combined, and is often a huge obstacle for people looking to gain and maintain employment. Without a job, people can feel worthless, depressed and disconnected from their community. During his pitch, Luke Terry, the Managing Director of Vanguard Laundry Services, explained that the current success rate in getting people living with a mental illness back into the workforce is around 14.2%.

The mission of Vanguard Laundry Services is to wash away mental health employment barriers and change lives. Since their pitch at TFN Sydney, Vanguard Laundry Services have been able to hire seven new staff and they've enabled another five employees to successfully transition into further employment. They have also seen their median wage increase by $392 fortnightly, resulting in a 38.9% reduction in housing affordability stress as well as improved health outcomes, with daily smoking and hospital visits also decreasing.

"The work of Vanguard Laundry Services would not be possible without the generous support from TFN. The support allows Vanguard Laundry to meet the rapidly growing demand for our high-quality services, create more jobs and provide career development opportunities for people with a lived experience of mental illness" - Luke Terry, Managing Director

“Thanks to the great new dryer purchased Sally* was offered a job at Vanguard in 2017 whilst recovering from a mental illness. Just this week, after completing a 9 month paid employment placement with Vanguard and the polishing of some workplace skills, Sally has started a new job at a local private hospital which frees up her old job for someone else. On top of that, Sally hasn't visited the mental health ward for twelve months, she's able to support her children and is reporting a stronger sense of community belonging.” – Luke Terry, Managing Director

*Her name has been changed to protect her identity

Read their Impact Report

Learn more about Vanguard Laundry Services.

Stroke Association of Victoria

Stroke Association of Victoria

Hope Centre Services

Hope Centre Services