Vanguard Laundry Evaluation 2018

Providing employment and tailored career support can improve the health, wellbeing and finances of people living with mental illness, according to a new evaluation report from the Centre for Social Impact Swinburne and Vanguard Laundry Services .

Findings from Vanguard’s 2018 Social Impact Report indicates many of the laundry’s employees experienced physical and mental health improvements, and increased levels of social engagement and financial independence - particularly in the first year of work.

Only 25% of employees had worked within a year of starting at Vanguard, and 11% had never worked.

The report revealed:

  • One year after starting at Vanguard, employees had more financial independence
  • Less welfare dependence. The average reduction in Centrelink income was $204 a fortnight, with a total of $153,451 in Centrelink payments saved in Vanguard’s first 18 months
  • A reduction in housing stress. Employees reported a 48 percentage-point reduction in housing affordability stress, with 17% spending 30% of their income on housing costs (a marker for housing stress) – compared to 65.2% spending this amount prior to starting at Vanguard.
  • A reduced use of health services, with the target group reporting 138 fewer days in hospital since starting at Vanguard. The report estimates that $231,767 in direct hospital costs have been saved between December 2016 to June 2018.
  • 64% of employees who started in FY2018 said their health was somewhat or much better than before Vanguard, again emphasising the initial impact felt in the first year of employment.