The Paul Ramsay Foundation will soon open a for-purpose hub in a historic Sydney building, welcoming tenants who will tackle social problems in innovative ways.
A historic former church will open as a bustling new home for purpose-led organisations and social enterprises later this year.
The foundation purchased the building in 2019 and has overseen its restoration, with the goal of creating a hub where not-for-profit organisations and philanthropy can come together in a place of creative and innovative engagement to tackle social problems and break cycles of disadvantage in Australia.
Those organisations fortunate enough to move into the new space can expect to be inspired by both their surrounds and co-inhabitants. And the first of those tenants promises to deliver some very special services that will fuel the heart and soul of the venue.
Concierge with a difference
You can expect to receive a unique welcome when you visit Yirranma Place, which will offer a new service model called the “Goodcierge”, delivered by social enterprise Two Good Co.
Starting with an ad-hoc cook-out for people sleeping rough in Kings Cross 15 years ago, Two Good Co. has grown into a successful social enterprise working on a ‘eat one, treat one’ model; for every meal purchased, the organisation gives an identical meal to a local women’s refuge for domestic violence survivors. The other arm of Two Good Co’s work is their mission to employ and empower 60 vulnerable women each and every year through their catering and retail business.
To date, this inspiring organisation has donated an incredible 184,102 meals to refuges across Sydney and Melbourne and provided 27,418 hours of paid employment in their ‘Work Work’ program.
Two Good Co. receives donations, but it is primarily funded through the provision of its catering services and, in a COVID-savvy pivot, sales of feel-good care packs and unique gifts. When it moves into Yirranma Place, it will expand its offering to include concierge services – with a difference!
“Empathy at the front door”
That’s how Two Good Co. founder, Rob Caslick, describes his organisation’s vision for their new “Goodcierge” service. Five core values will guide all of their decisions about their kitchen, café and concierge operations. These values are:
We are a team, we take care of each other
“Our approach is through empathy and just plain, old fashioned, well mannered ‘do gooding’. We’ll be the ones sneaking you a choc chip cookie if you look like you’re having a bad day.”
Small things matter most
“It’s all about the details. We know how important your meeting with a certain policy maker is and we’ll be sure to casually drop in the importance of your program as we escort the person to the boardroom. The number of good deeds for the day will be a KPI and hearing ‘awwww sweet’ is the measure of goodness we will track.”
Everyone is equal at our table
“A do gooder doesn’t mind if it’s the delivery person dropping off the reams of recycled paper or the Minister of Social Services. We will treat all teammates and guests with equal amounts of empathy.”
People before profit
“Training, empowering and employing vulnerable women is the reason we are doing this. It is Two Good Co’s responsibility to provide a safe and nurturing space for this to happen. We accept this is expensive and takes time but delivering a great service that is cost effective means we can scale our goodness.”
Connect with our community
“We will forever keep the needs of our community at our core and be grateful every time we can welcome them in.”
The Paul Ramsay Foundation’s approach to partnership is what attracted Two Good Co. and encouraged them to tender for the contract at Yirranma Place.
“The foundation wants to set us up for success and help us grow,” says Rob.
“We see our partnership as a springboard to showcase a replicable model to other organisations who want their office catering and café service to make a real difference. We’re particularly proud of our new Goodcierge service, which will bring an extra touch of warmth and empathy to the excellent service that will make visiting and working at Yirranma Place a special experience.”
Long before the Paul Ramsay Foundation were talking to organisations such as Two Good Co, they were thinking carefully about how they would honour and respect the history of their new venue.
The original heritage of the building at 262 Liverpool Street has been protected in its reimagination, including the restoration of the original pipe organ, which will be played several times a year as a way of maintaining links with the building’s significant history.
The sensitive consideration of local heritage has also played an important role; the name ‘Yirranma Place’ means ‘a place where many create’. The naming followed engagement with local Gadigal elders, Aboriginal groups and language experts and is aimed at creating a sense of place, history and respect for Aboriginal people, while also contributing to the project of revitalising the Gadigal language.
A public gallery will showcase contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and design, and a number of shared spaces within the building will be available for community use.
Partnership and diversity
“Yirranma Place is the definition of partnership, plurality, and the value of diversity,” Paul Ramsay Foundation CEO, Glyn Davis AC, says.
“Whether people come for coffee, to view the art or explore the digital exhibitions, meet with tenants or attend a seminar, we believe the precinct will become a focal point for innovative and creative solutions to intractable social problems.
“We see the precinct as a real hub for local people, and we’ll be encouraging local school and community groups to use the open space.
“Yirranma Place will be a contribution to the Australian for-purpose sector, a place where a diverse cross section of people dedicated to breaking cycles of disadvantage can belong and work together on new ideas that bring hope for change.”
The Paul Ramsay Foundation, which has granted more than $600 million across 120 grants since 2016, focuses on identifying and partnering with individuals, communities and organisations who are working to break cycles of disadvantage and create an Australia where people can realise their potential. Within the walls Yirranma Place, this very work will be carried out every day.
Yirranma Place will open in late 2021. If your organisation is interested in leasing office space within this historic and inspiring for-purpose hub, please contact Tom Speakman at Mercer – [email protected]