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Byron Shire
June 24, 2024

SHIFT staying put in Byron

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SHIFT co-founders, Anne Goslett and Julie Wells. Photo Tree Faerie

Established in 2019, Linen SHIFT is a social enterprise commercial laundry of the SHIFT Project – a learning environment where women can acquire work readiness skills by practising them on the job. It is the first of its kind in the area, but there has been some confusion in recent times which is making things tricky.

Confusion with Beacon laundry

‘People think we have moved to Bangalow and are now the new Beacon laundry,’ said co-founder Julie Wells.

Julie and founder, Anne Goslett, both feel this confusion is impacting the project, and after navigating Covid and the floods, it is exhausting on many levels.

‘During Covid and over the flood season, we actually had to cut hours working in the laundry, and we closed on a Friday just to keep things manageable.’ said Anne. 

‘Now we’re coming out the other side – since Christmas, we’ve been able to re-employ 16 women on the floor.’

Good news for now, but it got tough for Anne and Julie, who in recent times had used their savings to make sure the staff didn’t miss out.

‘Because of the accommodation coming back, we’ve gone from eight people on the floor last year to 16 this year,’ said Julie. 

‘It’s getting better, but over Christmas, because we were so financially strapped, both Anne and I worked on every public holiday and on weekends (for free), because we just didn’t have the money to pay overtime.’

Anne says that in the last few years, they have been able to offer a couple of women permanent contracts, which has allowed them to approach banks for a loan, but it’s the extra things like food vouchers, petrol vouchers, access to a financial coach that are out-of-pocket expenses.

The women say they had a large kitty to help them over the tough times, but now their savings are gone and winter is upon us, they will go into a slow season.

Linen hire vs wash 

Anne and Julie feel that there is definitely room for the two businesses, as Beacon is a linen hire service and Linen SHIFT washes the client’s own linen. 

But the confusion has meant that people think there is only one laundry, and SHIFT relies on the help of financial donations to keep operating.


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