AN idea that came to Perth businessman Keegan Crage during a run one day is morphing into a social enterprise that’s helping homeless people resurrect their sense of self-worth.
With Essendon coach John Worsfold and former Australian cricketer John Inverarity assisting with promotion and fundraising, Mr Crage, who is managing director of Hire Intelligence International, is turning his newly formed charitable organisation, On My Feet, into a social enterprise.
On My Feet takes a physical approach to boosting the self-esteem of the city’s homeless by providing them with athletics training, growing their confidence and promoting a feeling of inclusion.
During the past year, the public benevolent institution has helped 77 homeless people in Perth and Fremantle run a collective 2,900 kilometres.
Mr Crage told Business News the program he developed with advice from local homeless service groups had given participants a newfound sense of community, and offered career advice for those who wanted it.
Mr Crage said seeing the participants improve their running and the flow-on effect this had on their attitudes and willingness to access free online courses, career advice and job placements with Coles, St John Ambulance, Perth Eye Hospital and Red Ink Homes, through connections he helped facilitate, was inspiring.
“What we’ve done is send a positive message for even the most downtrodden people in our society, the invisible people who feel that they’re worthless and hopeless ... all of a sudden through sport and being part of a community they felt a sense of purpose and worth and they felt some sort of pathway towards being self-sufficient,” he said.
Mr Crage said while relying on donations from sporting companies for gear and local companies for support had been key to setting up On My Feet, the organisation was now seeking to sell branded orange socks to become self-sufficient.
They are being helped in this process through mentoring from Macquarie Bank and Titan Digital employees, who are teaching them how best to sell the socks and be creative about challenges with distribution, warehousing and marketing without a budget.
Macquarie Bank employees have since also signed up to sell the socks themselves, in a friendly competition against their mentees to see who can make the most money for On My Feet.