ETC’s social enterprise Encore Property Services provides lawns, garden and property maintenance services on the Mid North Coast, but there’s more to this green-thumb business than meets the eye.
According to Encore Manager Dean Barnett, the service also gave people a chance to rebuild their lives through employment and training opportunities.
“It gives our employees direction and a solid job out of it. They get holiday pay etc, something that they might not have had before,” Mr Barnett said.
“We’ve found it also helps to straighten the young ones out a bit. We have a young Indigenous guy Ben who we’ve seen such a positive difference in.
Ben said before joining the Encore crew he had worked briefly in a takeaway store but struggled with unemployment for quite some time.
“I was so happy when this opportunity came up. This is my first full-time job and it’s been a good change for me,” Ben said.
“I actually have a decent job now and with a solid income. Which means I can save up for my own place. Life is a lot better already.”
Ben said he was gaining skills that he could use for the rest of his life, including how to use various tools and equipment.
“It’s good working outdoors and it makes you feel good helping out the disadvantaged people at the houses we maintain,” he said.
“We do get a lot of the tenants thank us very much for doing their lawns and keeping their places looking neat and tidy.”
Encore Supervisor Michael Sommerville said working with the Encore team was seen as a stepping stone for some.
“We’ve found some of the staff who finish up with our team, go on to start up their own businesses after learning the skills with us,” Mr Sommerville said.
“We have a really good team who works well together. We take a lot of pride in our work – it’s a good feeling.”
Encore Property Services looks after Land and Housing Corporation properties from Coffs Harbour to Macksville with its crew of five permanent staff.
According to Mr Barnett, the team often went over and above their contracted duties to help the local community.
“A respected member of the community passed away recently, so we maintained the widow’s lawns while she was going through the grieving period – free of charge,” Mr Barnett.
“Sometimes the crew also helping the tenants with additional things such as helping to cut back hedges and trees.”
Encore also takes on private jobs for lawn mowing, yard clean-up, garden maintenance, greenwaste removal and pressure cleaning. Encore provides a professional, cheap and reliable service with pensioner discounts available.
Call Dean Barnett on 0400 841 033 for a free quote or email firstname.lastname@example.org