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New project for The Big Umbrella

02 Dec 2014

New project for The Big Umbrella Image

Docklands-based charity The Big Umbrella will soon become a self-sustaining enterprise, with plans to open its own café.

Led by Justin Dickinson, the charity has been based at The Hub since early 2012 and works on both local and international issues affecting marginalised youth and children, including human rights abuses, exploitation, forced labour and homelessness.

According to Mr Dickinson, plans for a café have been in the pipeline for two years and have now been made possible after the charity was made the beneficiary of the How Ball 2014.

The How Ball is held each year, with 100 per cent of the profits donated to the chosen charity.

Mr Dickinson said being selected as a beneficiary of the ball was “a great honour”.

“We’re hoping to use the money generated from that to buy a social enterprise café.”

“That will hopefully generate revenue for our projects in the future without having to apply for grants or funding or drain communities of money.”

“We can hopefully generate our own funding and become a self-sustaining charity that doesn’t rely on government or external funding.”

Mr Dickinson was also recently recognised for his work and was short-listed as a state finalist for the Australian of the Year award.

“To receive the honour of a state finalist was huge, especially with the people I was up against,” Mr Dickinson said.  “It’s nice to get that recognition.”

And while plans to develop The Big Umbrella café continue, the charity’s work both internationally and locally is also at the forefront of Mr Dickinson’s mind.

The Big Umbrella feeds up to 600 homeless people in Melbourne three nights a week through its A Real Meal soup kitchen at Flinders St Station.

On Christmas day, The Big Umbrella will provide food and companionship to around 1000 people.

“I found the most beautiful experience we’ve ever done is to come down on Christmas Day,” Mr Dickinson said.

“Because you go home to your family Christmas and have all that participation, giving to nieces and nephew, kids who have got everything. Then you go to the streets and find people who can’t believe you’re here for them on

this day. They’re just so thankful.”

He said it was important to provide support for marginalised communities, particularly at Christmas time.

“A lot of charities close over December, but support services are always needed, especially at this time of year.”

For more information about The Big Umbrella’s work visit http://www.thebigumbrella.org

 

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