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CHOICE in the community

Our commitment to social and environmental responsibility, inclusion and diversity.

staff volunteers at Addi Road Food Pantry

Image:  CHOICE volunteers pack food hampers as part of our monthly Workplace Giving Days with Addi Road Food Pantry

Our social impact strategy was first developed in 2016–17 by a group of committed CHOICE staff. They formed the Social Impact Committee and their work continues to be an important link between our organisational values and the broader community today.

One of the first steps was to develop a partnership with the Women's and Girls' Emergency Centre (WAGEC), a nonprofit homelessness service for women and families escaping domestic violence. The main element of this partnership has been donations of some of the products we test, which have been used to furnish the centre's accommodation services and client homes.

More than 800 products, with a total value of more than $400,000, have been donated in the last 5 years. These donations have a direct impact on the lives of women and children who have experienced domestic violence and homelessness.

social impact committee with goods for wagec donation 

Image: CHOICE donates test goods to the Women and Girls' Emergency Centre

Staff complemented this with over $8000 in personal donations collected at events during the last 5 years and over $7000 raised through fundraising at Walk for WAGEC events.

Around half of our team also donate to our CHOICE Workplace Giving program, and half of these funds go to WAGEC who spend them on educational programs for children and young people, employment skills training, and therapeutic and wellness activities.

Walk for WAGEC - CHOICE 

Image: An easing of restrictions allowed CHOICE staff to join the Walk for WAGEC in May 2021

Our other main charity partner is the Fred Hollows Foundation, a development organisation working in more than 25 countries. They help train and empower local eye doctors, nurses and health workers to provide high quality, affordable eye care to everyone, whether they're rich or poor.

Supporting Indigenous communities in Australia is a focus for the Foundation, which aligns with CHOICE’s commitment to help close the gap between standards for Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities in Australia. Through our Workplace Giving Program our staff have donated over $8000 to the Fred Hollows Foundation, supplemented by $16,000 raised through 20 staff participating in Fred’s Big Run in 2020 and 2021.

We also give support to the Loaves & Fishes Restaurant, who provide meals to the homeless, through our end-of-year fundraising.

Workplace Volunteering Program

The Social Impact Committee's work to improve the local environment started in 2017, with the introduction of a workplace volunteering program that is still going strong.

Marrickville Council approved a patch of land along the Cooks River for CHOICE staff to regenerate in partnership with the (now) Inner West Council and the Mudcrabs Cooks River Eco Volunteers. The bushcare site is on the lands and waterways of the Gadigal – Wangal peoples of the Eora Nation, who are the Traditional Custodians. It provides food and habitat for local animals, and some of the trees have hollows carved into them to encourage birds and small mammals to nest.

Staff contribute their time throughout the year to work caring for and restoring this area. We encourage and support plant diversity in our hope to redress some of the negative impacts of colonisation and climate change on our local environment.

The committee has also organised 'Clean Up Marrickville' events over the last 5 years, which has prevented many kilograms of plastic and other waste from ending up in the Cooks River.

CHOICE bushcare site Cooks River

Image: CHOICE volunteers have planted over 450 native seedlings with support from local council and the Mudcrabs

CHOICE bushcare site Cooks River - plant diversity

Image: Plant diversity at the CHOICE bushcare site by the Cooks River

The workplace volunteering program has grown over time and CHOICE has allocated two days per year per employee to volunteer. Staff can now participate in a range of community activities. Some help at the monthly Addi Road Food Pantry Workplace Giving Day packing food hampers to help salvage food, fight hunger and support vulnerable communities.

Our dedicated team of blood donors have also saved over 500 lives over 5 years through the Australian Red Cross Lifeblood service.

CHOICE volunteers at Addi Road Food Pantry

Image: CHOICE volunteers pack fresh bread at Addi Road Food Pantry

Supporting and enjoying public art

In 2021, we were lucky to be matched with local artist David Cragg as part of the Perfect Match public art initiative run by Inner West Council.

David Cragg is a multidisciplinary artist of Irish, Scottish, Bundjalung and Biripai ancestry, working in Dharawhal Country, but who grew up on Wangal, Gadigal and Bidigal Country. He’s a muralist, fine artist, designer, writer, sculptor, photographer and youth/disability community worker. His design for the exterior wall of our building was developed in collaboration with CHOICE, and the Inner West Council.

David sees this mural Waterways as a way to give back to the lands that raised him and the vibrant communities that call the area home. He carefully researched and considered the flora and fauna chosen for this work, and has chosen to depict species endemic to the local area.

David Cragg mural Waterways 2021 

David Cragg mural Waterways close up 2021 

Image: David Cragg’s 2021 mural Waterways on the CHOICE building in Marrickville, NSW