Through conversations, laundry services and showers, each week a group of volunteers are forming meaningful relationships with homeless people in Logan.

More importantly, Orange Sky workers are building friendships with a demographic of people who would otherwise be isolated and disconnected from the community.

Darryl Simpson, who has volunteered for Orange Sky since he retired four and a half years ago, said the service aimed to boost the self-esteem of those less fortunate.

“If they have clean clothes and they’ve had a shower, they feel a lot better about themselves,” he said.

The major impact of Orange Sky did not rely on their laundry or shower services, but on the “orange chair” conversations.

“It is here where our volunteers and friends are able to connect through genuine conversation,” Mr Simpson said.

“Sometimes they chat about the weather, other times it’s about what happened in the league over the weekend.

“Regardless of the topic, it’s providing a positive connection back to the community for a person doing it tough.”

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This September, Mr Simpson is taking part in the Orange Sky “Sudsy Challenge” along with 1273 other volunteers across Australia.

For the participants, the annual challenge involved wearing the same clothes for three days and talking about Orange Sky to raise funds for their laundry and shower services.

Orange Sky also aimed to combat stigma and increase awareness about homelessness through the Sudsy Challenge.

“There’s still a lot of people out there who think homeless people want to be homeless – which is stupid,” Mr Simpson said.

“You actually get to talk to them, and it’s beyond their control most of the time.

“We try to help them as much as we can.”

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The 2016 census revealed that in Logan and Beaudesert, around 1,229 people experienced homelessness on any given day.

Currently Orange Sky does not have a meeting point in Logan West, with the closest location at Logan Central on the corner of Wembley and Ewing Road.

For safety reasons, Orange Sky operated in partnership with other existing community groups in the area.

Mr Simpson said that if any community group would like to learn more about bringing an Orange Sky team to Logan West, their first point of contact would be their friendly head office team on (07) 3067 5800.

To find out more about Orange Sky or donate to the Sudsy challenge, visit https://orangesky.org.au/.

 

“The invisibility of poverty” – by Orange Sky volunteer Darryl Simpson.

I have been homeless, for quite a while,

Having no home has cramped my style.

I sit here all alone,

With my only friend, the phone.

As I sit here I am dismissed,

No one even sees that I exist.

All I want is for someone to care,

With a chat and a coffee to share.

I sit here, all alone on the stairs,

Waiting for someone, who really cares.

Darryl Simpson

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Darryl Simpson has spent 30 years volunteering for various community organisations. He now volunteers with Orange Sky every week making a difference in the lives of his homeless friends.

 

 

 

 

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