News

27 Apr 2020

Charity innovation during COVID-19

To help kids live their best life and to fill the next gap for young people toughing it out in Dubbo, LeaderLife has developed a social enterprise concept called Soil2Soul. LeaderLife have been incredibly fortunate to lease a lime farm in Narromine, thanks to the generosity and commitment of the Maxwell family. The recent rains out in the bush lifted spirits almost instantly and was like watching diamonds fall from our skies! Our limes are ready for picking…they’re super juicy, delicious and some are the size of lemons!!

Soil2Soul was inspired by BackTrack and kicked off at the farm in early 2020 thanks to great support from UnLtd, Channel Nine and other investors. It is a model that creates incredible opportunities for young people (15-25) who have disengaged from education, who are struggling to get a job, are on the edge of the criminal justice system, and most of these kids are Aboriginal. The young fellas are supported in an alternative and innovative employment, education and training model that has the potential to grow into other enterprises down the track such as tree planting, agricultural work and wood cutting; ultimately becoming a long term employment pathway for young people at-risk in Dubbo.

The Soil2Soul crew have been busy maintaining the lime trees, pruning, watering and clearing the rows between the trees. They have visited local bars, restaurants and cafes who have signed up to receive a weekly order of limes which are picked and delivered by the young people. The LeaderLife crew have even been attending the Dubbo Growers Markets selling freshly picked limes to the Dubbo community. After they packed up from a sell out morning at the markets, one of the kids said “well never did I think that volunteering my time, early on a Saturday morning, to sell limes at the farmers markets would make me feel like at 10 out of 10”!

Like so many in the world, the LeaderLife team have had to come up with some innovative ways in the current COVID climate, ultimately making sure we continue supporting the wellbeing of our busted kids whilst following the government guidelines.

Our motto has been “keep it simple and innovate the heck out of it!” Fortunately working with vulnerable people and also farm work has been considered essential service which has allowed us to continue our youth work, just in a modified way.

The crew have been attending the lime farm each day; planting a huge veggie patch, including putting in an irrigation system and are now home delivering freshly picked limes straight to the people of Dubbo and Narromine. It has been a cracking way for our ‘L’ platers to get their 120 hours of driving up for their L’s log book… Driving with meaning is such a better way of doing it!

We have also utilised this time to master our value adding products like lime cordial and the kids have even been playing around with how to make aromatherapy lime oil!

The production of these products has taken some pretty serious business planning, maths and science, and just goes to show how much the kids we work with respond to hands on learning. Our artisan lime cordial will be bottled and sold in the coming months. Watch this space!

Find out more about LeaderLife at https://www.leaderlife.org.au/

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