Skills and funding valuable for Wayside

10 Sep 2017

Staff across Macquarie’s Sydney offices are teaming up to give their time, expertise and financial support to The Wayside Chapel, which provides homeless and disadvantaged people with access to health, welfare, social and recreational services.

An in-house development course designed to build Macquarie employees’ collaboration skills and challenge their business thinking is now in its third year in partnership with Wayside. The program is the joint effort of Macquarie’s Financial Management Group learning and development (FMG L&D) team and the Macquarie Group Foundation and uses the skills of Macquarie staff to solve a challenge faced by the charity.

This year the group developed a business plan for the prospective social enterprise café Wayside is considering opening in Bondi. The plan will enable Wayside to understand the costs, risks and benefits of the café, as well as help its development and launch.

“In the longer term, it will also provide for greater knowledge within Wayside around building a sustainable social enterprise and will help them achieve their social impact objectives of offering programs to high-risk young people,” says Lisa Fletcher who is coordinating the program in Macquarie’s L&D team.

“It’s clear that Wayside has a profound impact upon the community, and it was hugely powerful to hear the stories of those who have turned their lives around with the support of the team there,” says Lisa after a recent visit to Wayside.

Pro bono legal support

Since April, 15 Macquarie lawyers from across Sydney have been providing free legal advice to Indigenous visitors at Wayside. The ‘Mob Lunch’ is a weekly event which brings together Wayside’s Indigenous clients, community workers and service providers to share a meal.

“Our lawyers attend the lunch on a monthly basis and then provide legal advice on a range of topics including debts, housing and victims’ compensation,” says Lucille Hughes, a lawyer from Macquarie’s Banking and Financial Services legal and governance team.

Lucille says the team is part of a growing trend of in-house lawyers undertaking pro bono legal work which previously tended to be performed by law firms, “A small amount of our time makes a big difference to an Indigenous person who needs help in understanding their basic legal rights.”

Financial support

Sydney staff and the Macquarie Group Foundation also recently raised more than $130,000 for Wayside, as part of the annual Macquarie ‘Mad Dash’ stair challenge at Macquarie’s 50 Martin Place Sydney headquarters.

Five teams participated in both a race up several flights of stairs as well as non-physical ‘intellectual’ challenges, with time bonuses awarded in return for donations.

Ellie Brink competed for the winning team representing Macquarie’s Corporate and Asset Finance group, “We were lucky to be the winning team in a fierce race. The competitiveness of the event encouraged everyone to donate generously, participate in the festivities and cheer on their team to support a great cause,” says Ellie.

Reverend Graham Long, Wayside Chapel Pastor and CEO, thanked Macquarie and said it was a night he would never forget, “The positive energy of Macquarie was an inspiration!”

Image caption: Participants of the in-house development course with Wayside staff.