The Big Issue and Westpac join forces to support disadvantaged Australian women

4 August 2015 Women's Subscription Enterprise

The Big Issue and Westpac join forces to support disadvantaged Australian women

4th August 2015

Media release:

We are pleased to announce that the Women’s Subscription Enterprise (WSE) is the recipient of the Westpac 2015 Mary Reibey Grant. The WSE will receive $240,000 over three years to further its work in providing job opportunities for homeless, marginalised and disadvantaged women and girls.

While women are currently employed by The Big Issue magazine in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide to hand-pack subscription copies of the magazine for distribution, this year’s  Mary Reibey Grant will allow us to expand to Perth over the next three years. This important program gives female employees an income, as well as access to training, mentoring and support.

To coincide with Homelessness Prevention Week, and to celebrate the announcement, a special event was held today at Westpac's Melbourne office. The event saw more than 60 guests roll up their sleeves and pack magazines alongside employees from the Women’s Subscription Enterprise, creating a large-scale version of the shift work offered to them each fortnight.

Steven Persson, CEO of The Big Issue said: “We’re grateful to Westpac for their ongoing support of The Big Issue. This grant enables us to expand our successful Women’s Subscription Enterprise into Western Australia. This will allow disadvantaged West Australian women to experience the benefits that come from being employed and socially connected.”

Ainslie van Onselen, Director of Women’s Markets, Inclusion and Diversity at Westpac said: “More than 45,000  women in Australia sleep homeless every night and they really need our support. The Big Issue help women by providing income-generation opportunities. Our grant will help empower and support women in the WA community, fostering independence and contributing to a better future.”

About The Big Issue Women’s Subscription Enterprise:
The Women’s Subscription Enterprise is an initiative run by The Big Issue, to provide job opportunities for homeless, marginalised and disadvantaged women through the sale of subscriptions to The Big Issue magazine. The women pack magazines for distribution to subscribers every fortnight, giving them an income and helping them gain new skills and career pathways for the future.

Since launching the Women’s Subscription Enterprise, The Big Issue has employed more than 120 women in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. Several women have moved into mainstream workplaces, taking up employment in office administration, hospitality, call centres and childcare.

About the Mary Reibey Grant:
The Mary Reibey Grant aims to support a not for profit organisation that enables opportunity for disadvantaged women. It provides a gender lens to our grant making, and is in alignment with Westpac Foundation’s strategy of helping previously funded organisations to expand and strengthen their operations.

Media contact:
Simone Flanagan
Media and Communications Coordinator
T: 03 9663 4533/ 0403292180

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