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The Young Australians of the Year Award has been given to two inspiring young men who are working to help the homeless.

Inspired by organisations like mobile libraries and Meals On Wheels who often help the less fortunate in our communities, two Australian lads have created a mobile laundry to wash the clothes of the homeless.

In September 2014, best mates Nic Marchesi and Lucas Patchett, both 21, decided to give a mobile laundry specifically for the use of homeless people a go.

Image Source: Facebook
Image Source: Facebook

“We wanted to improve the hygiene standards of the homeless, so we came up with this crazy idea of building a free mobile laundry,” Nic told the ABC.

Small steps were the key to starting this venture.  The Brisbane boys fitted an old van nicknamed ‘Sudsy’ with a generator, water tanks and two large washing machines and driers.  Then they started driving around town offering to clean the clothes of those people that were sleeping rough.  Parking their laundry van near food vans and free barbecues allowed the homeless to have their clothes washed while being fed.

Armed with enthusiasm to make a practical difference and strong social media skills, Nic and Lucas quickly expanded the service to Melbourne, Sydney and the Gold Coast

Their charity now known as Orange Sky Laundry, named after one of their favourite songs, operates in 36 locations and washes 350 loads each week. The charity itself continues to grow, with over 270 volunteers, and governments and local businesses coming on board to assist the charity to be more sustainable for the long-term.

Nic and Lucas  have now been honoured with the title of Young Australians of the Year to recognise their work to boost the respect and improve the health standards of homeless Australians.

Accepting the award, Lucas said the laundry service began as a simple idea: “Clean clothes and conversation.  But after 70,000 kilos of washing … we realised it is so much more. We can restore respect, raise health standards and be a catalyst for conversation.

“We have found a way to treat others how they want to be treated.” Nic said that last week, he met homeless man Grant, and washed his clothes for the first time.

“As I passed Grant’s laundry back to him, he told me something I’ll never forget. He said, ‘Nic, I haven’t been able to have a conversation with anyone for over three days’.”

The mobile laundry was initially a small idea, but it is obviously making a big difference to many homeless people around Australia.

  • Fantastic job and such a worth while cause.

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  • Lovely to read a story about gen y not being self absorbed. There is a large number of youth out there doing wonderful things for society. Well done to these boys for their efforts. Well deserved honour.

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  • This is amazing, makes me so proud to be Australian and hope there are more amazing ideas to come.

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  • Gives you a good feeling to know that there are wonderful people out there like these two boys. All kudos to them.

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  • These two young men really deserve this honour.

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  • Nic and Lucas – you guys rock! Congrats on your idea

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  • Wow. Well done Nic and Lucas. That is fantastic. Congratulations

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  • Amazing the work they do – and now hopefully will be able to do more.

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  • What inspirational young men. What a fantastic idea. Good on them.

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  • Awesome work fellas!

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  • Congratulations to these very creative and wonderfully generous boys. This is well deserved!

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  • I love the awards list, because it brings out so many wonderful stories. Like this one.

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  • That mobile laundry is really amazing. There was so much need for such a product. Very creative boys!!

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  • yeah that is the kind of compassion that the world needs more of. he summed it up well when he said that he found a way to treat them how they wanted to be treated. that is a really great thing that this charity does and i am glad that he won.


    • congrats! i hope that this really gives them the opportunity to expand or be able to help more. well deserved

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  • This is such a great initiative and will make a massive difference to many doing it rough. Congrats boys.

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