I first met Katie Liew, Founder and CEO of The Underground Collaborative, at a business networking event 3.5 years ago.
When we did our round table introductions at this event, Katie spoke about how she wanted to break the cycle of homelessness by setting up a social enterprise that would help the homeless or those at risk of being homeless to:
- get into employment
- and into housing solutions.
Now this is a pretty big task and social issue to tackle so I was blown away with her courage and determination to help the homeless!
I’ve watched her journey and achievements over the past few years, and I have been in awe of her. I knew I wanted to help and support her in some way, so I am now, by donating a percentage of Vivacity Marketing’s profits to The Underground Collaborative each month.
I believe that a social enterprise like this, is hugely effective, as it’s tackling the two big challenges that homeless people face, they can’t get a job as they don’t have an address, and they can’t get a place to live as they don’t have a job.
I asked Katie a few questions to share a little bit more about the story of The Underground Collaborative.
So where did the idea for The Underground Collaborative come from?
“The Underground Collaborative was born following a 2 month-long trip to Africa and witnessing first-hand a different level of poverty.
I returned feeling a mixture of emotions; I was completely dissatisfied, angry, and deflated with the state of our world. Consequently, I had rediscovered my passions which I had lost in my day to day life, and immersed myself in research, volunteering and trying to understand life. Not of mine, but of those less fortunate.
And so in June 2017, The Underground Collaborative was born. A social enterprise that provides employment and housing solutions for people experiencing or at-risk of homelessness.”
What’s your vision?
“Our vision is to break the cycles of homelessness through providing employment and housing solutions.”
Where did the name come from?
“The name was designed to bring light to otherwise ‘taboo’ topics, and help address systemic issues through collaboration. I strongly believe, and with deep passion, that only when we work together, can we make a greater and sustainable impact – socially, environmentally, locally.”
What’s the WHY behind TUC?
“We believe in the inherent value of people. We believe in dignity, respect and freedom. We believe in human rights. We strive towards applying these beliefs, and is our motivation to everything that we do.
It is simple, but this is our ‘why’.”
And finally can you tell me a little bit about your employment initiative Ground + Co?
“Our first employment initiative is through our coffee cart, Ground+Co which will be used to train and employ those most marginalised to become baristas.
Currently, The Underground Collaborative have partnerships with Zonta House to lend on their expertise and relationships with their clients, and to ensure employees receive the necessary wrap around support.
With continued support, employees will move onto employment in partnership with other hospitality establishments, to provide long-term and sustainable employment beyond Ground+Co.”
I think you will agree with me that as business owners we have two responsibilities, the first being to create employment, and the second being to use our profits for good, and to help those less fortunate than us. So this is why I have chosen to support The Underground Collaborative with Vivacity Marketing.
Let’s help break the cycle of homelessness together.