Grant Opportunity

Space2b Social Design Inc
144 Chapel St
St Kilda, VIC, 3182

Space2work – for refugee and newly arrived migrants -

Space2b is a vibrant, thriving retail shop, gallery and design hub that supports refugee and newly arrive migrants to build their financial independence within the wider community Co-founded by talented designer and Cofounder Janine Lawrie and activist and Somalian refugee, Mariam Issa, this dynamic pair’s efforts have captured the hearts and minds of the local community – and galvanized the support from 50+ volunteers to date. What began as two trial pop-up shops in 2015 has now turned into an exciting community workspace that has a permanent residence in the bustling Chapel St, St Kilda. It’s rapid growth in interest and popularity means it now includes a thriving retail outlet; art gallery; employment, training and business hub; featuring a new laneway café. It has also attracted wide audience interest, including the likes of Kon Karapanagiotidis from the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, and Julian Burnside QC and Human Rights Lawyer https://www youtube com/watch v=npu7CPXYZ9U
Space2b came about through a simple idea with pure intent – fostering connections, building community and creating opportunities through a one-stop social enterprise. It brings people together to exchange skills, mentor, learn and practice English, share stories and dreams and form lasting friendship as we create pathways for them into productive and fulfilling work.

Our mission is to enable recently arrived culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) communities to gain Australian work experience, training and work that leads to financial independence through our social enterprise and broader partnerships.

Our purpose is four-fold:
1) To provide a culturally safe and secure environment for recently arrived CaLD communities to develop confidence, build independent relationships and engage with the wider community.
2) To provide a dynamic space where diverse cultures and communities are celebrated, respected and appreciated and where cultural and individual identity is encouraged and shared through the context of design, innovation, ideas, creativity and cooperative enterprise.
3) To establish a financially sustainable working environment that provides opportunities for enterprise participants to design, develop, promote and sell their work.
4) To enable recently arrived CaLD members to develop the creative skills, financial competencies and business acumen to participate effectively in a commercial environment.

A voluntary Board and CEO, plus two part time paid staff and 50+ volunteers support three key programs: • Space2work (through our shop/café/gallery) – offers work experience, skill development and training in all aspects of our business including retail, hospitality, accounts and event management • Space2fly recognizes the rich creative skills and talents that many newly arrived bring with them The program offers personalised mentor and training in product design and business development enabling participants to become creative business owners • Space2connect – a range of activities, workshops and events that enable participants from culturally diverse communities, and the local community to connect.
Achievements • 98 new migrants are in pathways to financial independence: 22 via work experience, 18 selling their products through our retail outlet, 7 are now trainers, 5 are in full-time employment and 23 are in training • Attracted 45 designers and 50 +

  • Total Requested Amount
  • Total Raised From Donors
  • Remaining Goal

Project Details

Postcode where activity will take place: 3162

Start Date: 03/05/2019

End Date: 03/05/2019

Target Population:

  • Work status and occupations > Unemployed people
  • Social and economic status > Immigrants and migrants

Field of Interest:

  • Community and economic development > Community development
  • Human rights > Diversity and intergroup relations

Project Summary:

We developed Space2Work to respond to a real gap in support for refugee and asylum seekers and newly arrived migrants in the South East Metropolitan Melbourne region. This group are highly motivated to work but face serious labour market exclusion and high unemployment because of a lack of Australian work experience and networks; racial and cultural intolerances; and limited English skills. Space2Work provides culturally inclusive and tailored training and employment opportunities for refugee/newly-arrived migrants to successfully transition into employment pathways.

1) Participants will engage in on-the-job training within our enterprise, which includes a retail shop, café, art gallery, business hub and community events,
2) Individualized on-the-job training: in sales, customer service, merchandising, cash settlement, barista training, food preparation and presentation
3) Group Training: in Induction to Space2b, POS (point of Sales), stock control (excel), customer liaison, merchandising, shop/café procedures, work ready presentation, health and safety
4) English for retail/ hospitality: by experienced volunteer ESL teachers
5) Local business partnerships for training and employment to ‘job Ready’ participants via a ‘Business Partner Membership Program’ that encourages local businesses to sign-up.

We are struggling to meet demand and request $15,000 of funding to support an additional 10 refugee asylum seekers to complete this program

Subira’s* story: Subira was forced to flee war-torn Ethiopia It was a heart-breaking decision for her – “ I was 17 years old and I had to go alone, without any family I walked for three months, and sometimes got a ride. Other families from my village looked after me, but I was so sad without my own family with me. Once in Egypt, I came to a refugee camp It was not safe. There was violence, theft, rapes and heard whispers of human trafficking. She had survived the walk, but didn’t know if she would survive the camp. She was finally given refugee status and arrived in Melbourne. It was really hard for Subira to adjust in Melbourne. There were times of feeling hopeless and alone ” After two years I got a trainee placement with Space2b in their retail shop Here I could practice my English, meet others, and learn to talk to customers and make sales Space2b’s volunteer English teacher gave me lessons every week. She helped me with my Exams and now I am an Australian citizen. One day at Space2b I met another Sudanese man who told me of his journey to Egypt. It was exactly like mine and he is now training to be a lawyer. This helped me realise that I to could become something one day. Space2work program has helped me get casual work in a retail store It is nearly full time I am so proud to have managed to send home money to buy my mum a small house. She is safe for the first time” “When I miss my family I put on my traditional music and dance until I fall asleep Space2b is like my family here"

Project Outcomes:

Space2 work aims to provide tailored support for refugee and culturally diverse families and communities to build their social participation and inclusion in Australian community life. There are few specialised migrant services around and most arrivals from refugee and culturally diverse backgrounds must attend mainstream support/employment services (Job Services/JobActive Services) that are not well placed or resourced to cater for their complex needs around education and employment. Unemployment rates of refugee and migrant communities remain much higher than their Australian peers, and this impacts on the rest of their lives, plus their families.

In March 2012, the Refugee Council of Australia Discussion Paper indicated:
“Many refugee communities and organisations providing services to refugees have expressed frustration at the lack of targeted support offered by Job Services Australia (JSA) services and the poor outcomes experienced by refugee and humanitarian entrants “ and “ most importantly, refugee or humanitarian entrant job seekers are frustrated by the time wasted meeting participation requirements that do not lead to jobs and of being juggled between different services when what they are asking for is one place to go that will provide the kind of employment support that is needed to make the difficult transition into Australia labour market ”

Space2b address this gap in the market, through trading in products and services, with the aim of promoting social inclusivity and civic cohesion and breaking cycles of financial disadvantage and dislocation experienced by CALD communities Our enterprise offers participants to build skills, knowledge, confidence and networks which enable them to work in a commercially-competitive environment where there are opportunities to engage with the general public The diverse nature of the enterprise provides an important real-world platform for work and expands the customer base for which the products and services will trade Most employment services can’t achieve this and the transition from employment service support into the stark reality of working in another culture leaves many ill prepared to reach their economic potential.

The major outcomes that this funding will deliver to 10 trainees/ employees (newly arrived migrants, refugees and people seeking asylum):
• Economic participation – measuring the training and employment placements through a business membership scheme and employers via jobactive services
• Social participation – via participation in new activities
• Improved health/ wellbeing – measured via survey results
• Independence – measured via survey results • Improved sense of belonging – measured via survey results

Evaluation process: We have developed a program logic model that is being used to develop an evaluation framework with Melbourne University to measure the social impact and effectiveness of our programs (Fellowship with Melbourne Uni Social Equity Institute) We will collect data on participants, activities and outcomes identifying the changes for participants as a result of accessing our services.

Budget Details

Total Budget: $15,000


Income item Price ($)
ACF (unconfirmed) 15,000


Expense item Price ($)
Staff support for planning, and training of mentors/volunteers 1500 x 10 participants

More information