Corporate Challenge Hits High Note For Street Choir
Some of Australia’s leading corporate companies have put their voices to a good cause – raising $40,000 for the Sydney Street Choir.
The companies, including PAYCE, AMP, APA, Colin Biggers & Paisley, Macquarie Group, Minter Ellison, PwC and Virgin Australia participated in the Sydney Street Choir Corporate Challenge.
Each company had a one-on-one performance with the street choir before competing in a challenge in Martin Place during National Homelessness Week.
The event, backed by the PAYCE Foundation – the philanthropic arm of leading development and investment company PAYCE, aimed to raise enough money to fund a case worker for the choir.
PAYCE director Dominic Sullivan said the corporate challenge also aimed to foster connections between the Sydney Street Choir and corporate Australia.
The Sydney Street Choir is a singing community formed in 2001 to support people who are homeless and or disadvantaged.
“The corporate challenge was an uplifting experience for everyone involved,” Mr Sullivan said.
“There was some great renditions of some favourite songs from both the corporate choirs and the street choir.”
Mr Sullivan said he was overwhelmed by the generosity of the companies that were involved in the challenge this year.
“The funds raised will be put to good use – helping street choir members manage the issues they are currently facing.”
Sydney Street Choir Corporate Challenge thrills city lunch-time crowd
The Sydney Street Choir and eight corporate choirs lifted the spirits of a large city lunchtime crowd in Martin Place amphitheatre today with their performances in this year’s Sydney Street Choir Corporate Challenge.
Lunch-goers and passers-by were treated to a repertoire of inspirational vocal and musical performances organised by the PAYCE Foundation and led by musical director, James Paul.
A Welcome to Country was presented by Uncle Charles Madden, better known as “Chicka”, to get the show underway and PAYCE Foundation Director, Dominic Sullivan welcomed and thanked to audience for their support.
Mr Sullivan also thanked the choir participants for giving up their time to rehearse for the Challenge and he congratulated the corporate sector for its support of the event.
He explained that the PAYCE Foundation is the charitable arm of leading development and investment company, PAYCE.
“The PAYCE Foundation’s aim with the Challenge is to foster important connections between the Sydney Street Choir and corporate Australia and ultimately see the choir become self-sustainable,” he said.
The Sydney Street Choir helps men and women deal with homelessness, mental illness, addiction and/or social disadvantage through the power of song.
“We also thank everyone who gave generously with donations today which will help engage a case-worker to support the choir.
The Sydney Street Choir Corporate Challenge was first held last year and this year the number of corporate choirs supporting the event doubled.
Around 150 staff from eight organisations from the corporate world, AMP, APA, Colin Biggers & Paisley, Macquarie Group, Minter Ellison, PAYCE, Price Waterhouse Coopers and Virgin Australia participated in the Challenge. The event was also supported by the City of Sydney.
“The PAYCE Foundation’s aim with the Challenges to foster important connections
between the Sydney Street Choir and
corporate Australia and ultimately see the
choir become self-sustainable” Dominic Sullivan, PAYCE Foundation
First to take to the stage to get the entertainment underway were the AMP Choir and the Sydney Street Choir who performed the Roy Orbison hit, “”Anything You Want”.
Next up was the APA Choir and the Sydney Street Choir to perform a Creedence Clearwater classic, “Bad Moon Rising”.
It didn’t take long before the audience was clapping along, and showing their appreciation for the inspirational performances.
Next up was the Virgin Australia staff choir who presented a most appropriate song, “That’s What Friends Are For”.
The PwC choir and Sydney Street Choir sang ‘’You Raise Me Up with a stirring solo by a PwC staffer that brought strong applause from the audience.
Other performances included “Weather With You” by Macquarie Choir and “Get Right Back” by the PAYCE staff choir.
For the finale, all the choirs joined together to sing “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus – a fitting selection to close off what was a hugely successful Challenge.
For more information on how to support the Sydney Street Choir and the Sydney Street Choir Foundation go online to www.sydneystreetchoir.com.au
About the Sydney Street Choir
Sydney Street Choir is a singing community formed in 2001 to support those who are homeless and/or disadvantaged by providing them with a therapeutic musical program which promotes social skills, independence and self- management, including the management of their own finances, transportation, housing and health issues.
The aim of the choir is to connect with, inspire and empower their members through creating music, performance and passionate expression that truly opens people’s hearts. Members are men and women who love music and singing and join together to bring joy to each other and those for whom they perform.
The choir’s performances are inspirational and uplifting as they share their stories of triumph over adversity through joining the Choir with a range of audiences.
Strong turnout for PAYCE Sutherland2Surf
More than 5,500 participants faced the starter’s gun for this year’s PAYCE Sutherland2Surf Fun Run & Walk, the 47th running of the Shire’s popular community event.
PAYCE continued its proud association with the annual event as primary sponsor and the PAYCE Foundation again supported a team of 12 visually-impaired members and their guides from Achilles Sydney, as well as local teenager, 17 year-old Kiera Paramenter-Vose, participating for the first time in her wheelchair.
PAYCE staff volunteered again as guides to accompany some of the Achilles Sydney team members and fielded a team led by Director, Dominic Sullivan.
First runner to complete the 11 kilometre course was international track athlete, Kevin Batt, in a time of 32 minutes 39 seconds.
First female competitor home was local resident, Belinda Martin, who finished 11th outright in a time of 37 minutes 1 second. Forty-four year-old Belinda has now won the women’s division four times, but rated this year’s victory as probably her best to date.
“It’s funny, I don’t have any expectations these days so much now I’m a bit older,” she said at the finish. “In hindsight, I think I could have pushed a bit more.”
In addition to prizes for the major winners and placegetters in the various categories, all competitors who completed the course received a commemorative medallion and certificate to mark their achievement.
PAYCE’s Dominic Sullivan said the organisation of the event was again first-class and its success was due to the efforts of the club and the many officials and volunteers.
“On a personal note, my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed competing and being part of the wonderful atmosphere this event generates,” he said.
“The event is important for Wanda Surf Life Saving Club, being its major fundraiser for the year, and the community is to be congratulated for its continuing strong support.”
Dominic said the PAYCE Foundation was pleased to again assist a very enthusiastic team of fitness-minded people from Achilles Sydney.
“The event is important for Wanda Surf Life Saving Club, being its major fundraiser for the year, and the community is to be congratulated for its continuing strong support.” Dominic Sullivan, PAYCE Foundation
Achilles Sydney President, Ellis Janks, thanked PAYCE and said a record number of its members and guides enjoyed the fun run.
“Events such as this really help to break down the barriers between people with disabilities and the able-bodied community,” he said.
Blind walker, Cathy Egan. said she had never taken part in such a community event before.
“My experience will be etched in my mind forever. Congratulations to PAYCE and the Foundation for an exciting, challenging and such a cool event,” she said.
Dominic said the Foundation was also delighted to support an inspirational young teenager, Kiera Parmenter-Vose, who covered the 11 kilometre course in her wheelchair in just two hours.
“Kiera’s father, Darren, said it was an amazing experience for the whole family and the smile on Kiera’s face at the finish made the day memorable.”
Proceeds from the day will be shared between Wanda Surf Life Saving Club and this year’s charity partner, St Vincent de Paul Society.
“Events such as this really help to break down the barriers between people with disabilities and the able-bodied community” Ellis Janks, Achilles Sydney
PAYCE Foundation welcomes Adele House funding grant
The PAYCE Foundation will match a $5 million NSW Government capital grant to expand drug and alcohol services at Adele House near Coffs Harbour in NSW with a $5.6 million contribution.
PAYCE Foundation Director Dominic Sullivan said the Government’s grant means that work could now commence immediately on building the much-needed 40-bed residential rehabilitation facility on rural land at Bucca.
Mr Sullivan said the modern $10.6 million facility would take about two years to build.
He said the announcement was a major boost for Adele which has been assisting men aged from 18 to overcome the effects of substance abuse for more than 30 years.
Adele – which currently has a 10-bed facility at Bucca – has seen an increase in the rate of clients with an addiction to ice, up from 30 per cent five years ago to 65 per cent today.
The PAYCE Foundation strongly believes disadvantage and misfortune should not limit an individual’s potential or determine their quality of life.
Mr Sullivan said Adele had a strong track record of improving the health of clients who have suffered from addiction.
“We support the Adele program because it focuses on health and wellbeing, providing clients with a pathway back to mainstream life.”
The program also teaches new life and work skills at the facility.
“This is a great example of government partnering with the charitable and not for profit sectors to deliver a good social outcome for the community,” Mr Sullivan said.
“This is a great example of government partnering with the charitable and not for profit sectors to deliver a good social outcome for the community,” Dominic Sullivan, PAYCE Foundation Director
Adele House Director Will Morgan said the State Government grant was a major boost for the organisation.
“The new facility with an extra 40 beds will mean Adele House can meet the demand for services,” he said.
“We know that we will be able to make a difference to many more lives with that extra capacity.
“Clients who complete the Adele program are free from addiction, ready to reconnect with their family and start work,” Mr Morgan said.
The PAYCE Foundation and private donors have contributed $8 million to acquire and develop an 11 hectare blueberry farm adjacent to the facility, which is currently run as a social enterprise, reducing Adele’s reliance on Government and private donations for recurrent funding.
“This state-of-the-art facility incorporates workshops for training in mechanical repairs, horticulture, metal and woodworking,” Mr Sullivan said.
Click here to read the Media release by NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet – NSW BUDGET: FUNDING BOOST FOR DRUG AND ALCOHOL REHABILITATION SERVICE
One team well into its training regime for this year’s PAYCE Sutherland 2 Surf is a group of competitors with physical disabilities representing Achilles Sydney.
Achilles Sydney president Ellis Janks said its members enjoyed the healthy activity of walking and running and the organisation strongly encouraged members to participate in as many community running and walking events as possible, along with their regular fitness sessions.
“In the lead up to the PAYCE Sutherland 2 Surf, Achilles Sydney members have competed in several recent events across Sydney including the Sydney Morning Herald half marathon in the city,” he said. “Our members really enjoyed the event last year and were very appreciative of the fantastic support shown by fellow competitors, PAYCE and Wanda Surf Lifesaving Club.”
Achilles Sydney member Brett Anthony, from Gymea, will be competing in the event for the second time this year. Anthony is blind and participates on a regular basis in fun runs and walks across Sydney accompanied by volunteer guides.
“I am excited to be participating again this year on my home turf along with my friends and fellow members of Team Achilles Sydney,” he said. “It was a bit chilly to start with last year but it didn’t take long to warm up and everyone competing and along the way were so friendly and encouraging.
“It is an inspiration to see organisations such as Achilles being involved in the race and making it possible for those with a disability to be able to participate, have fun and be part of the community.” Dominic Sullivan, PAYCE Foundation
“The whole event is organised so well from go to whoa and I’m thrilled to take part thanks to the support of Achilles Sydney and PAYCE.”
Last year 11 members of Achilles Sydney tackled the 11-kilometre course for the first time as an official team after PAYCE offered to pay the team’s entry fees. PAYCE staff also volunteered to assist the Achilles Sydney guides.
PAYCE director Dominic Sullivan said PAYCE was proud to be associated with the event, especially with the involvement of St Vincent de Paul Society NSW as the charity partner this year.
“Vinnies is one of our iconic and most respected charities and does outstanding work in communities across the country helping people experiencing disadvantage,” he said. “I wish Wanda Surf Lifesaving Club and all participants a successful and enjoyable day and feel sure the shire community will again show its outstanding support for this major family and community event.”
Race director and Wanda SLSC life member Michael Brannock welcomed back the participants from Achilles Sydney.
“It is an inspiration to see organisations such as Achilles being involved in the race and making it possible for those with a disability to be able to participate, have fun and be part of the community,” he said. “We will be cheering them along when we spot their bright yellow shirts.”
The 47th Sutherland 2 Surf will be run on July 22 with registrations open.
This year the PAYCE Foundation will raise funds for Achilles, with the aim of helping Achilles members achieve even more life changing goals! You can donate here.
St Merkorious Finds a New Home!
The PAYCE Foundation Team was recently welcomed by St Merkorious Board members and staff to their new facility at Strathfield South.
The St Merkorious Charity was established in 2013 by Paula Nicolas. Frustrated by the level of inaction in response to the disadvantage and suffering she observed in her own community, Paula began cooking for a small number of vulnerable families from her family kitchen.
The desire of one individual to provide practical assistance to ease suffering in her community has since grown to a team of over 100 staff and volunteers who produce and deliver 1200 meals to 400 families every week. Meals are prepared at their kitchen in Strathfield South and delivered to clients throughout Sydney who are elderly, sick or at risk of homelessness. By providing food and visiting people in their homes, St Merkorious hopes to restore dignity to the person and remind them that they are not forgotten.
“Our work is inspired by our belief in God and our strong desire to share what we have with the less fortunate. If we could think of disadvantaged members of our community as members of our own families we would give everything we could to make their lives happy and secure.” Paula Nicolas, President
In addition to preparing and delivering meals and food hampers, St Merkorious provides a weekly community meal at Fairfield Community Hall and runs the Fairfield Hub once a month. As well as offering a wholesome meal and practical support such as haircuts, second hand clothing and homewares, these community events are an opportunity for vulnerable and isolated members of the community to interact in a welcoming and safe environment. St Merkorious works with local services such as Settlement Services International to reach disadvantaged members of the community.
PAYCE has supported St Merkorious since 2015, providing yearly grants to support their operations and enable growth. In 2016 the PAYCE provided St Merkorious with funds to purchase a much needed refrigerated delivery van. The van is on the road all day, collecting produce from Foodbank and delivering meals to clients. Last year PAYCE Foundation funds helped to establish the new state of the art kitchen in Strathfield South. This kitchen will enable St Merkorious to meet increasing demand for their services and explore growth opportunities.
The PAYCE Foundation will continue to explore new ways in which to partner with St Merkorious and support their valuable work. One such opportunity is a partnership with Kick Start Café that would provide Kick Start trainees with work experience at the St Merkorious kitchen one day per month.
PAYCE Foundation helps cyclone hit school rebuild
When Cyclone Winston hit Fiji in February last year with winds of up to 300 kilometres per hour it devastated some of the country’s smallest communities.
Naitavuni Catholic Primary School, located 58 kilometres north of Suva, was hit hard by the category 5 cyclone.
It destroyed the main building, the surrounding community in the Waidina District, including important infrastructure critical to the operation of vegetable farming which dominates the area.
The 82 school children had been forced to learn in makeshift classrooms as they waited for new ones to be built.
However, building materials and labour was in short supply across the island.
The future for the school and its children looked bleak until the PAYCE Foundation stepped up to help out.
PAYCE Foundation director Dominic Sullivan said that through the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Suva, work commenced on planning to rebuild the school facilities.
“The children were being taught in makeshift classrooms that were not fit-for-purpose or conducive to good educational outcomes,” he said.
“The extreme weather events often disrupt the children’s education.”
Mr Sullivan said when PAYCE Foundation become involved in the project it aimed to provide new learning facilities that would not only withstand the weather but improve learning opportunities.
“Community groups and representatives were consulted so that a comprehensive understanding of the community’s needs could be achieved.”
The $350,000 project included a 192msq block to replace 4 classrooms destroyed by the cyclone and a fifth multi-purpose room for use as a library and/or computer lab.
“Our project managers were not only able to assist with planning and construction on the ground, but with new technology monitor the progress from Sydney,” Mr Sullivan said.
“It really was a great team effort and a great result for not only the children but the broader community.”
Mr Sullivan said it was a pleasure to join the children, parents and school staff for the opening of the facilities.
“It has been a very rewarding project for everyone involved” he said.
Granville East Wins Seed Harvest Spoon Grant
Granville East Public School will have its own edible school garden after winning the PAYCE Foundation sponsored Seed Harvest Spoon competition this year.
The grant winner was officially announced at the school today where students were presented with certificates by the NSW Minister for Education Rob Stokes.
PAYCE Foundation Director Dominic Sullivan said the students showed outstanding enthusiasm in its video submission.
“The school’s community warriors group demonstrated a passion for not only the opportunity to build their own edible garden, but also a superior understanding of environmental issues.”
As the winning school students will receive:
Materials and support to design and build an edible garden, including a waste management system.
An eight-week education program
An information program for teachers and parents
The students will learn how to grow local, seasonal and organic food, generate healthy environmental ecosystems and promote local biodiversity.
Students will also learn about creating compost and the life of bees.
At the end they will get to enjoy the produce they created.
“The PAYCE Foundation is committed to backing programs which build stronger communities and the Seed Harvest Spoon program has an excellent track record of not only delivering important education but also bringing communities together,” Mr Sullivan said.
”Our approach to urban development is not just bricks and mortar.”
“We want to develop long term relationships which deliver lasting social improvement.”
The Director of Seed Harvest Spoon, Michelle Carrick, made a presentation to the school on the grant program.
“Michelle is a great advocate for the program and its outstanding educational benefits for children and we are proud to back her vision,” Mr Sullivan said.
New Transitional Housing Project Launched
An innovative tri-partite partnership between leading property development and investment company, PAYCE, community housing provider, Bridge Housing Limited and Women’s Community Shelters will provide transitional housing for women and their children who have been subjected to domestic violence or homelessness.
The Pathways Home project will offer intermediate tenancy accommodation and support services for those vulnerable women and children currently in emergency shelters.
The project was today launched in Sydney by Prue Goward, Minister for Family and Community Services, Minister for Social Housing and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.
Pathways Home aims to provide those women and children who had been in crisis accommodation after experiencing domestic violence with a stable, safe and secure home environment in order to recover and rebuild their lives. PAYCE Director, Dominic Sullivan said PAYCE would provide five properties in north-west Sydney and undertake modifications to ensure the properties were safe and comfortable.
“The PAYCE Foundation will provide seed funding for the Pathways Home Project Fund to support maintenance and other costs,” he said. “PAYCE is extremely proud to be a partner in this initiative, which is only possible through the shared commitment of our project partners, Bridge Housing and Women’s Community Shelters.
“The project is a wonderful example of community organisations working with the private sector to leverage philanthropy to develop affordable housing solutions for members of the community in vulnerable or needy circumstances.”
“Bridge Housing will provide property and tenancy management services and the Women’s Community Shelters, which currently operates crisis accommodation for women and children, will provide outreach support and also identify suitable tenants,” Mr Sullivan explained.
“Pathways Home addresses the problem of where women and children go to stabilise their circumstances after they leave emergency shelters and before they move on to secure permanent housing.
“Without assistance and support, there is a real risk that women will remain in a cycle of homelessness or be forced to return to a violent environment due to the lack of alternative accommodation.”
Mr Sullivan said homeless women and children will benefit from the transitional housing environment for up to 18 months and in that time a range of support services will be provided by Women’s Community Shelters.
“We plan to have the first beneficiaries’ transition from emergency shelters to the new tenancy accommodation and be settled well before Christmas,” he said.
The PAYCE Foundation has signed up with a number of other corporate organisations around Australia to support a worthy initiative of The Big Issue magazine to provide homeless women with an income, as well as access to training, mentoring and ongoing support.
The magazine’s subscription service, managed by the Women’s Subscription Enterprise, offers work opportunities in a safe and secure environment for homeless women. One hundred corporate organisations are being sought to be members of the Enterprise’s Big 100 campaign by taking up multiple corporate subscriptions to The Big Issue magazine. Up to 10 women in need will earn an income in return for packing and preparing the subscribed magazines for despatch.
Over the past 21 years, The Big Issue vendors have become a familiar sight on street corners across Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth, selling fortnightly editions of the magazine that cover a huge range of well-written and interesting topics, including arts and entertainment, lifestyle and personal profiles.
The Big Issue street vendors are predominantly men, primarily due to safety and viability for many women due to their personal situations, which can include domestic violence or obligations as parents or carers. The Women’s Subscription Enterprise was established in 2010 to give women in these circumstances work and income opportunities that did not require them selling the magazines on the streets.
The PAYCE Foundation will gift its ten subscriptions to charity and community bodies, including Adele House located on the Central Coast and in Western Sydney, and to The Sanctuary, a Women’s Community Shelter.
PAYCE Director Dominic Sullivan said the Foundation welcomed the opportunity to participate in such a worthy cause to help women who are doing it tough.
“There are many positives associated with this initiative, including building independence and the capacity to help themselves and each other,” he said.
“The PAYCE Foundation commends The Big Issue on this social enterprise and we look forward to further engaging with them and the great work they do.”
40 per cent of homeless people living in shelters are women.
46,000 women in Australia are homeless every night.
More than 6,500 people have sold the magazine since 1996.
More than 11 million magazines sold, generating $25 million in income for vendors.
Circulation of the magazine has increased from 7,000 in 1996 to about 27,000.
For further information on The Big Issue and the important role it plays in communities nationally visit: www.thebigissue.org.au