More Than a Job: Nurturing a Culture of Care at New iMage Laundry

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Every Tuesday, amidst the steady rhythm of machines at IMPACT Community Services’ New iMage Laundry, you'll find Ann Duffy stationed diligently at her ironing post. At 80 years of age, and with a career spanning an impressive 65 years, Ann has weathered many storms.

Yet, a few weeks ago, she found herself facing a challenge unlike any other. "About four weeks ago I had a complete meltdown," she confides, reflecting on a moment of vulnerability. "I've never been through anything like that before."

In her time of need, Ann turned to Brendan Laws, New iMage Laundry Manager, seeking solace and support. "I came into work on the Tuesday, and I just went to Brendan, and I said, 'I'm in a bad way and I need to talk to someone,'" she recalls.

What happened next is a testament to the remarkable culture of care and support that defines the laundry, and IMPACT more broadly.

Brendan wasted no time. "Fifteen minutes later, he's down at my ironing station and he says, 'I've got the Chaplain, Lynne, coming over to see you in about an hour.'"

"Lynne came and she sat down, and she talked to me. Next thing I know, Brendan's here again after Lynne's gone, and he says I've got Marta (Mental Health Worker from IMPACT) coming to see you. Marta was wonderful."

Ann continued to receive consistent care and guidance. "Every morning Brendan would come in and see how I was," Ann shares. "There's not many companies that would give you that kind of help."

"Brendan is a top boss," Ann affirms. His leadership style, characterised by genuine concern for his team's well-being, sets the tone for the entire workplace. It's an ethos that permeates every aspect of New iMage Laundry—a place where kindness, community, and compassionate leadership is not just corporate speak, but a lived reality.

What sets New iMage Laundry apart is its culture of solidarity and empathy. "Everyone down there does seem to help one another," Ann observes. In this nurturing environment, employees don't just work alongside each other; they support and uplift one another through thick and thin.

Ann's journey is a testament to the transformative power of support. "If I hadn't had the help I got from work, I don't think I could have done it," she acknowledges. “I genuinely mean that.”

Her resilience, coupled with the unwavering backing of her colleagues and management, enabled her to navigate through adversity and emerge stronger.

As Ann looks ahead, she does so with renewed determination. "I'll be ironing for quite a while; I've no intentions of retiring," she declares.

For further information about IMPACT's social enterprise laundry, as well as our diverse array of programs and support services, feel free to reach out to us at 1800 179 233, visit the New iMage Laundry website, or simply complete the Contact Us form.

New Image Laundry has taken a leap forward in its commitment to excellence with the recent installation of a new Dexter T900 washing machine. This addition has not only elevated the laundry's productivity but has also led to an enhanced continuity of service for its valued customers.

The new washing machine is a game-changer for New Image Laundry's operations. With its 25kg capacity and advanced features, the machine has propelled the facility's efficiency to new heights. This has proven particularly significant for meeting the high demands of the bustling hospitality and accommodation sectors, where time sensitivity and impeccable cleanliness are paramount.

New Image Laundry Manager Brendan Laws expressed his enthusiasm for the acquisition of the state-of-the-art appliance: "We are thrilled to introduce the 25kg Dexter T900 washing machine to our facility. This cutting-edge equipment exemplifies our dedication to optimizing our services for our clients, and is currently supporting our business partnerships in the hospitality and accommodation sectors. We're already witnessing a remarkable increase in productivity."

The purchase of the new washing machine, which was made possible by a funding from round two of the Queensland Government’s Social Enterprises Growth Grants has been a pivotal move for the laundry service provider. The improved efficiency resulting from this addition is expected to significantly impact the overall customer experience.

This new washing machine is not just about improving our operations; it's about offering an unparalleled experience to our clients,” Mr Laws said.

New Image Laundry is a commercial laundry and social enterprise owned by IMPACT Community Services. New Image Laundry’s mission is to provide pathways to the open employment market for people facing barriers to employment, and it currently employs 25 people.

Samantha Russell is a proud new mum who works at IMPACT’s New Image Laundry.

Sam is an integral part of the team and has made incredible progress both personally and professionally in the four years since she started work at the laundry.

“Early in my life I developed a panic disorder which was quite hard to deal with. It got so bad I wasn’t comfortable leaving the house,” Sam said.

“Looking back, I was in a really hard spot, but I’m so proud of how far I’ve come.”

New Image Laundry is one of IMPACT’s social enterprises, designed to help people maintain employment by providing a supported working environment.

Laundry manager Daniel Leary said when Sam first started she was quiet, unassuming and had been unemployed for an extended period of time.

“Now, she’s just blossoming,” he said.

“It’s just wonderful to see how Sam’s confidence has grown – both at work and as a Mum but it hasn’t been without its challenges.”

There was a stage where Sam had given up on the ability to work and drive because she was too anxious.

“I thought about how we could help Sam, so I connected her with some of IMPACT’s other programs – Mental Health and the Cooee Group.

“One of our Mental Health Support Workers Wendy Lindeman really took Sam under her wing and guided her through the difficult time.”

Sam said IMPACT and the laundry team were extremely supportive and assisted her to get the help she needed to get back on track.

“The laundry staff are like a second family to me,” she said.

“I know that I’m supported here and that it’s a safe environment that I can come to, even if I’m having a bad day.

“IMPACT has helped me learn new and different skills, develop coping mechanisms and work through my challenges.

“It’s been great to talk to other people who face similar struggles and learn about what they do to cope.”

Danny said Sam has improved immensely over the last few years and is now a Quality Control Supervisor, which plays an important role in the business.

“Sam is great at what she does and is pivotal in ensuring the laundry is maintaining its customer base,” he said.

“Without quality, we don’t have customers and without customers, we don’t have a business.

“Sam is always the one that steps up and helps without being asked, she just takes it on her own shoulders.

“When you look at where Sam was four years ago compared to now, it’s truly a great success.

“Down the track I can see Sam being a wonderful mentor for people working through similar challenges.

“I’m incredibly proud of Sam and am excited to see what the future has in store for her.”

More than 200kg of laundry just became light work at NEW iMAGE Laundry.

The commercial laundry is an initiative of IMPACT Community Services’ which serves Bundaberg and the surrounding areas.

IMPACT’s Laundry manager Daniel Leary said they recently installed two Jensen Washer Extractor 110kg machines.

These Front Loader single pocket machines will essentially double the capacity of the laundry.

“The current wash capacity at the Laundry was 180kg at any given time, with the average cycle being around 45 minutes,” he said.

“The current machines are 40kg, 60kg and 80kg. Meaning that it would take three machines to produce 180kg every 45 minutes.

“These 2 new machines are each 110kg which allows us to process an additional 220kg every 45 minutes.”

Daniel said this equated to a new capacity of 400kgs every 45 minutes.

He said without the new machines the laundry was operating at close to its maximum capacity and this made it difficult to pursue other contracts to drive production and sustainability further.

The new equipment allows the laundry to fine tune its operation, reduce overheads. It now also allows us to drop existing machine out of production for essential maintenance at given times while still maintaining good production levels.

Servicing a range of local aged care facilities, hospitals, medical practices, accommodation outlets and more, the laundry is committed to working to meet all guidelines set by the Australian Standards AS/NZS 4146.2000 for the collection, loading, storage and sorting, disinfecting, washing and delivery of linen.

Daniel said key aspects to commercial washing operations and remaining compliant to medical and aged care standards are Mechanical, Thermal and Chemical disinfection.  

The Mechanical Action is achieved by the engineering of the inner drum and the rigorous tumbling process. The Thermal action is achieved by the injection of steam continually throughout the wash cycle to maintain set temperatures. And the Chemical disinfection is maintained by the computer-controlled injection system which delivers concentrated wash, softening and neutralising chemicals.

Daniel said the washing machines operate up to 80 degrees Celsius depending on the fabrics being processed, while the ironer operates at 180 degrees Celsius and the dryers at 90 degrees Celsius. This will eliminate any pathogens or viruses that may have been in contact with the linen.

The machinery and wash cycles are calibrated each month to ensure that all the above measures are being meet. Importantly, the linen is also pH tested to confirm neutral pH linen was going back to clients. This is particularly important for use in hospitals and aged care facilities were when patients and residents will have contact with linen for prolonged periods.

The machinery was commissioned on June 8, 2022.

Some interesting facts:

Current research suggests that the covid virus cannot withstand temperatures at or above 70°C (158°F). All medical, aged care and accommodation linen at NEW iMAGE Laundry is washed at between 75 and 80 degrees Celsius.

When washing clothes for Bed Bugs or lice, wash cycles above 65 degrees for 10 minutes killed 100% of all life stages. Washing at 40 degrees killed all adults and nymphs, but only 25% of eggs. Therefore, washing clothes for bed bug dis-infestation should be done at the hottest temperatures. Most domestic washing machines will not maintain these temperatures for any period to eliminate these pests.

The extraction process of moisture or final spin cycle by our washing machines is done at 350 G-forces. In comparison, the massive G forces experienced by a space shuttle astronaut at take-off is 3 G, while fighter pilots can only manage up to about 9G for a second or two in a vertical manoeuvre.

NEW iMAGE Laundry is located at 4 Inglis Court, Svensson Heights, and is open 5 days a week from 8am to 3pm.

Want to know how our commercial laundering could benefit your business, visit webpage or call us on (07) 4152 6158.

Please note: This website may contain references to, or feature images, videos, and voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who have passed away.

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