“Care in the workplace is the space where we’ve been able to mature and grow. Lucas Patchett


  • The importance of caring in the workplace
  • Homelessness is a temporary state
  • The resilience to try – fail – learn and grow

The following article is based on our interview with Lucas Patchett, co-founder and CEO of Orange Sky. Orange Sky is a charity that’s dedicated to a simple service, which provides an opportunity for Australians doing it tough to connect through regular laundry and shower services.

Although still in his 20’s, Lucas has achieved more in life than many 60 year olds. As you will hear – it hasn’t always been easy – and they have needed lots of resilience to try – fail – learn and grow. Lucas also outlines a simple thing we can all do when we encounter a homeless person on the street. (You can check out the full podcast here on The Caring CEO podcast episode #56.)

Caring in the workplace

Lucas and his team at Orange Sky truly embody the concept of care in various aspects, demonstrating this through their volunteers who tirelessly provide not just washing and showers, but also heartfelt conversations with those facing challenges in the community. The care they offer goes beyond the surface level!

This deeper level of care can come at a cost too; the psychosocial and mental health risks of Orange Sky volunteers (over 2,000 across Aus/NZ) is critical, to ensure the best support can be offered to those struggling in the community. Lucas and his team extend their care to these dedicated volunteers, supporting them during tough days and challenging moments, fostering their personal growth and development.

The bond between staff and team members is crucial for fostering a positive and caring workplace culture, organisational commitment, and resilience. Lucas and his team strive to reflect this care in everything they do, ensuring that it permeates through every aspect of their organisation.

Homelessness is a temporary state

Lucas acknowledges the prevalence of assumptions surrounding individuals experiencing homelessness or facing challenges in their lives. He avoids using the term ‘homeless’ as he believes it is a label. Instead, Lucas focuses on the temporary nature of their situation. However, he recognises that the definition of experiencing homelessness has evolved to include broader hardships. More individuals are now seeking assistance from Orange Sky, perceiving the organisation not just as a homelessness service, but as a support system for people in need. Lucas understands that their services extend beyond those living on the streets, as there are also individuals struggling to make ends meet and facing financial difficulties. This expanding spectrum reflects the current state of Australia and the

With the significant misconception surrounding homelessness in Australia, Lucas and his team noticed a general lack of understanding (and judgment) from the broader community, which Orange Sky aims to challenge and disrupt these misconceptions. Lucas emphasises the importance of the positive response they receive, as Orange Sky  helps combat these misunderstandings.

The act of asking for help and the act of helping

Lucas recognises that reaching out for support can be challenging for individuals experiencing homelessness. The act of admitting that help is needed can be inherently difficult, and labelling events or initiatives with the word ‘homeless’ can further intensify the barriers they face. Through his experiences, Lucas has learned the value of support networks and the speed at which someone can find themselves without one.

Overall, Lucas highlights the need to address these misconceptions, provide support without stigmatising labels, and understand the complex nature of homelessness and the challenges individuals face when seeking help.

When we reflected on these points, it got us thinking that the stigma surrounding people experiencing homelessness (and the problems it exacerbates) may not be too dissimilar to people facing mental ill-health. Like applying Mental Health First Aid, often initiatives are focussed on reacting ‘after the event’ i.e. first aid. But just as important, investing in building cultures that actually prevent mental ill health (or at least make it easier to live with), just like homelessness, is the key. 

You may be interested in our WeCARE Manager training to build mentally healthy teams: https://wecare365.com.au/wecare-manager/

To learn more about WeCARE365 and The Caring CEO, visit us here: https://wecare365.com.au/


About WeCARE365

We create simple skill-building programs that help managers lead mentally healthy teams. We believe that the #1 priority for every leader and team is to be more caring and mentally healthy and to enjoy growing together. In the very best teams, people care about each other, have each other’s backs, and enjoy each other’s company. We know the best learning solutions are those that ‘everybody gets’, which are easy to roll out, promote, and provide ongoing practical support. If you would like to see a demo, please book here.



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