Sydney Community Foundation and it’s Sydney Women’s Fund is delighted to announce Liverpool Neighbourhood Connections, an integral partner of its ‘place-based’ philanthropy program, has won Exceptional Social Enterprise in Greater Western Sydney for ‘Pepper’s Place’ at this year’s ZEST awards.
Presented by NSW Premier, The Hon. Gladys Berejiklian MP, the award recognises the ongoing ‘Place-Based philanthropy’ partnership between Sydney Community Foundation and Liverpool Neighbourhood Connections (LNC) and the value of innovative grassroots granting.
Also acknowledged on the night, Carole-Anne Priest, former Sydney Community Foundation Board member and current Chairman at Liverpool Neighbourhood Connections, winner Outstanding Community Leader in a Volunteer Capacity.
Completing the sweep, the extraordinary Pat Hall recognised for her extensive achievements as CEO, Liverpool Neighbourhood Connections, winner Outstanding Community Leader in a Paid Capacity.
The ZEST Awards are the premier event for the Community Sector in Greater Western Sydney.
Growing a social enterprise in Liverpool, Sydney
Pepper’s Place started as a social enterprise to support single mothers attending programs at Liverpool Neighbourhood Connections (LNC) in Warwick Farm in the Liverpool LGA. With a collection of gold coin donations, LNC purchased a coffee machine and employed a centre volunteer to serve coffees.
In 2012, Sydney Community Foundation secured funding to support the expansion of the social enterprise as part of its ‘Place-Based philanthropy’ program.
‘Place-based philanthropy’ is social investment into a geographic area. This location-focused giving brings together resources needed by the community to support the changes they wish to achieve. Ongoing support from Sydney Community Foundation donors has enabled the social enterprises to expand and thrive.
From these small beginnings, over the past five years this single social enterprise cafe has grown into five distinct profit for purpose businesses.
Pepper’s Place Liverpool today
Collectively the social enterprises now include a café in Warwick Farm, a contract for a school canteen, a coffee cart, a cleaning and mowing business, and a second hand clothing store.
Last financial year, Pepper’s social enterprises turned over $99,600, creating 2600 hours of work and paid out $74,000 in wages to disadvantaged women.
In addition to contributing to the financial independence of employee’s, Pepper’s Place provides a strong sense of belonging, social cohesion, and community harmony for the 68 programs and services per week to the Liverpool LGA with approximately 22,000 clients accessing services annually.
Creating strong employment pathways
All women employed by the social enterprise complete a Barista course and Safe Food Handling Supervision. In addition, they are also offered the RSA/RSG, Access to Work and Training, or Business Certificate 3 completed at the LNC centre via TAFE.
Combined with this training and experience at Pepper’s Place, over the last five years the social enterprise has employed or assisted over 500 women into paid work.
Recently, the success of this innovative social enterprise allowed LNC to negotiate a partnership with Liverpool City Council to run the Liverpool Library Cafe on a short contract. This will create the opportunity for two new employee positions.
Attracting social investment for the Western Sydney community
On the strength of the cafe, the council also offered a temporary shopfront on Scott Street Liverpool where graduates of the LNC Women’s Micro Business Incubator can sell products under the name ‘The Rising Collective Boutique’.
Demonstrating the vitality and determination of the community, Pepper’s Place helped attract the support of donors for the new Abel Dunn basketball court opened at the Warwick Farm centre last year which has transformed place with an important piece of social infrastructure for the community.
The pathways to employment created by Liverpool Neighbourhood Connections through Pepper’s Place social enterprise has attracted attention from media, research fellows, and the philanthropy community as a model for successful social investment.
With Sydney Community Foundation support, LNC is able to offer the following ‘Place-based’ programs designed in response to a direct community need.
Strive for Girls
Pepper’s Place Cafe and Pepper’s Coffee to Go
Greener Cleaner Lawn Mowing and Cleaning
Miller Technology High Fashion Enterprise
Bounce Basketball Project
The Clothes Box
Thrive for Boys
Doorways to the Future
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About Sydney Community Foundation
Sydney Community Foundation, established in 2004, has over a decades experience connecting philanthropy with Sydney communities in most need. As small grant specialists, SCF has overseen the distribution of almost $3million to innovative, grassroots charities who design and run projects that support people at greatest risk in the Greater Sydney area.
About Liverpool Neighbourhood Connections
LNC operates from Warwick Farm Community Hub (link is external). Staff outreach to Moorebank, Heckenberg, Cecil Hills, Lurnea and Casula, providing more than 68 programs and services per week to the Liverpool LGA with approximately 22,000 clients accessing services annually.