How much thought do you give to laundry? For most of us, it’s an annoyance. For some, however, it’s a path to stability. For people living with mental illness, holding steady employment can be close to impossible, further destabilizing their situations and resulting in high rates of poverty and homelessness. It’s a cycle that can be extremely difficult to break free of, especially for people who aren’t fortunate enough to have a supportive network of family or others to help them get back on their feet.
That’s where Toowoomba Clubhouse comes in. The Queensland, Australia organization is dedicated to providing support to local adults living with mental illness by giving them a safe place to recover while developing work and socialization skills. Members are given the opportunity to work within the clubhouse itself, assisting with gardening, cooking and clerical tasks, and as they become ready to move forward, the organization helps them to find paid employment.
The newly opened Vanguard Laundry Services started as a collaboration between Toowoomba Clubhouse and St. Vincent’s Private Hospital. The facility will provide laundry services to the hospital while offering Clubhouse members the opportunity for employment. Not only will they be able to work, further gaining skills and earning income, they will be continuously supported by social workers and career development officers, as well as given access to career advice and training from the University of Southern Queensland.
Vanguard Laundry Services is expected to officially open in February, but the facility held its soft opening this past week. 23 Toowoomba Clubhouse members began working alongside a staff of 7-10 skilled laundry workers, and to mark the occasion, Toowoomba Clubhouse Executive Director Luke Terry was formally presented with a 3D printed model of the laundry facility.
The detailed, full-color model was designed by 3D modeler Anthony Reimers and 3D printed by Ellipsis Media with support from Hutchinson Builders, which constructed the facility. The model has removable roof sections that allow a full view of the building’s interior layout, including machinery and equipment, as well as a second-floor office module.
“Once we received the 3D architectural files of the building, we were able to import, scale and prepare the file for 3D Printing,” said Rob Keanalley, manager of Ellipsis Media. “This is one of the first social enterprise businesses of its kind in Australia and we felt it needed to be celebrated and promoted by an equally rare and highly detailed full colour 3D Model. It is also a fantastic way to celebrate and promote Hutchinson’s involvement in this project from the very beginning.”
Reimers spent about 30 hours working on the model, carefully adding the internal equipment and making it modular for a better view of the internal layout.
Toowoomba Clubhouse has over 700 members who have experienced mental illness, and for some, Vanguard Laundry Services represents the first job they have ever held. Terry hopes to expand the laundry service to additional clients, particularly in the agricultural industry, creating additional jobs and further increasing opportunities for people struggling with mental illness to enter the workforce, gain needed skills and support their recovery. Discuss in the Vanguard Laundry forum at 3DPB.com.[Sources/Images: Brisbane Times / Rotary Club of Toowoomba South]