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Westpac to support disadvantaged Australian women

07 August 2015

Fiona; Lynn Corcoran; Cheryl at the Big Issue and Westpac Mary Reibey Grant launch

The Big Issue and Westpac - through its Westpac Foundation and Women's Markets - has joined forces to support disadvantaged Australian women. Pictured above at the launch are Fiona and Cheryl from the Women's Subscription Enterprise with Associate Professor Lynn Corcoran from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (centre).

Westpac - through its Westpac Foundation and Women's Markets - is pleased to announce The Big Issue’s Women’s Subscription Enterprise as the recipient of the Westpac 2015 Mary Reibey Grant. The social enterprise 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 The Big Issue 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, Westpac is also hosting a special event at its Melbourne office. This event will see 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.

Ainslie van Onselen, Director of Women’s Markets, Inclusion and Diversity at Westpac said: “More than 45,000[1] 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.”

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.”

About The Big Issue Women’s Subscription Enterprise

The Women’s Subscription Enterprise is an initiative run by national social enterprise, 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.

About Westpac Women’s Markets

Westpac was the first Australian bank with a business unit exclusively dedicated to supporting women – working alongside women to help them build sustainable and profitable futures via the provision of education, information and networking opportunities across Australia. Westpac’s Ruby Connection is an interactive online community designed to inspire, educate, promote and connect Australian women no matter what they do, where they live and who they bank with. Ruby provides an opportunity for all Australian women to learn from each other.

For more information and to see the event, connect with us Facebook @rubyconnection