House With No Steps Facility Services team member Andrew Clapham. Photo contributed
House With No Steps Facility Services team member Andrew Clapham. Photo contributed Mark Tipple

Celebrating between House with No Steps and Byron Council

TWO years of partnership between Byron Shire Council and House with No Steps will be celebrated this month.

Over a cup of tea, Byron Shire Council's General Manager, Ken Gainger will sit down with the House with No Steps employees to recognise and thank the work team who look after ground maintenance at the Byron Sewerage Treatment Plants and Wetlands.

House with No Steps is a social enterprise which has been contracted for the ground maintenance of Byron Shire Council's Sewerage Treatment Plants and Wetlands since 2014.

The program has created up-skilling and employment outcomes for people with a disability within the eleven Byron Shire Sewerage and Water Treatment sites.

Maintained 11 sites

House with No Steps Facility Services Team has maintained the eleven sites for of the last two years with great success in the creation of employment outcomes for six people.

House with No Steps, executive general manager, Brett Lacey said the benefits of working with House with No Steps are substantial.

"It supports a local business and a local charity, and provides many social benefits for our employees. Employment is more than having a job," he said.

Happy employee

House with No Steps employee Andrew Clapham has been working on the Byron Shire Council contract for the last two years and has significantly extended his skills base, increasing his confidence with new experiences every day.

"We've been working in the wetlands area in Byron", he said.

"And there's a lot of people who go there to watch birds who have stopped us lots of times to say what a great job we are doing and how good it looks. It's a nice feeling when we get to meet people and they tell us what a great job we're doing."

Adding value

Byron Shire Council's Social Innovation Community Projects Officer, Sasha Graham, said social procurement offers businesses a way to deliver additional benefits to improve value for money through purchasing decisions.

"For example, procurement can be used to deliver environmental benefits by purchasing goods that have a lower impact on the environment; or social benefits such as using suppliers who employ local residents or who provide meaningful employment to disadvantaged groups.

"Council is committed and keen to explore new social enterprise opportunities within its operations, as well as externally through local business and government," she said.

An upcoming forum on December 8 convened by Social Traders in partnership with The Office of Environment and Heritage will be held at Byron Community Centre to raise awareness of social enterprise in the Region, with a particular emphasis on linking social enterprises to buyers.

The free event will be on November 22 and will focus on linking social enterprises to buyers and there will be a social enterprise marketplace where buyers can meet local social enterprises.

The event will also include a session on building the capacity of social enterprises.

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