SSI’s social enterprise The Staples Bag had an inaugural launch in Baulkham Hills in February, hosted by Hills Community Aid. The launch was paired with a local book fair and a long queue of enthusiastic grocery shoppers.
SSI Youth Employment and Social Enterprise Manager Leanne Hung with Hills Shire Mayor Dr Michelle Byrne.
The Staples Bag vouchers were funded by the Hills Shire Council in support of financial inclusion practices, and were gifted to local community members in need.
In launching the event, Baulkham Hills Mayor Michelle Byrne noted the positive impact services like The Staples Bag had on the community.
“Initiatives like The Staples Bag not only help those less fortunate in our community with their basic needs, but also provides work experience, training and networking opportunities for those having difficulty securing employment or needing a leg up. It is about empowering those in our community and reducing social isolation,” said Mayor Byrne.
Acting Chief Executive Officer of Hills Community Aid Mici Beer highlighted the importance of raising awareness of services like The Staples Bag and helping people in the community make better financial decisions.
“We welcome The Staples Bag into our community as a promoter of financial inclusion, and we recognise that by inviting The Staples Bag into the community we are stretching people’s financial agility,” said Ms Beer.
SSI Youth Employment and Social Enterprise Manager Leanne Hung said The Staples Bag supported people to meet their most basic needs.
"Being able to afford rising rent and household bills should never come at the expense of nutritious food. The Staples Bag helps individuals and families stretch their dollar further so that they're able to afford fresh and nutritious groceries,” Ms Hung said.
Manning The Staples Bag’s stall at the launch were a number of people engaged in SSI’s Youth Placement Pathways Program (YPPP), which provides work experience opportunities for young people experiencing unemployment. YPPP participant Laura Palozzi came across SSI when she moved to Sydney from Tamworth and was put in touch with her local job network provider.
“SSI gave me the opportunity to join the YPPP program to gain valuable work experience. The program is great if you have no work experience and are looking for a step up,” said Ms Palozzi.
SSI Youth Placement Pathways Program (YPPP) participant Laura Palozzi.
The Staples Bag pop up shop will feature at Hills Community Aid in Baulkham Hills every second Friday.