Empowering Vinnies to help people and the planet

To ensure Vinnies can keeping doing what they do best, we’re honoured to be playing this small role in helping to reduce their everyday operating costs.

Your Work
5 min read
With the savings they receive from solar, Vinnies Victoria can re-invest money back into the community to help those in need.

Much of the great work Vinnies does is funded in part by proceeds from their shops that sell clothing, household items and other donated items. But revenue from the shops alone isn’t enough to cover the massive costs of state-wide assistance – about $20 million a year.

In 2021, Vinnies Victoria was looking for a way to save on its energy costs and further reduce its impact on the environment as a certified Carbon Neutral business. To tick both boxes, they needed a partner to install solar across a number of their shops. That’s where we came in. In June 2021, we partnered with the not-for-profit to tackle this mission.

A sustainable contribution

By the end of 2022, we’re set to have installed solar panels for 87 Vinnies shops across Victoria. Those panels will generate an estimated 1992 mega-watt hours each year – the equivalent of about 415 average Aussie homes.

This is estimated to help Vinnies save up to $1.26 million in energy costs over the next 10 years – money that can go toward providing the incredible support that hundreds of thousands of vulnerable Australians rely on every year.

Kevin McMahon, St Vincent de Paul Society Victorian State President, says he expects the partnership to save Vinnies more money on energy costs long after the first decade.

“Long-term savings from solar will have an enormous impact and enable us to dream about developing new projects and figuring out even more great ways to help Victorians.”

Bringing smiles to those who need it

Imeleta is one of the many people who Vinnies has helped. She is one of ten children – and now a mother of 10 of her own. She knows a thing or two about how it takes a village to raise a child. And she’s seen just how big of an impact Vinnies can have, with a connection that goes back to her childhood.

“Growing up in Samoa, we were fed and clothed by Vinnies,” she says. “Then when we moved here to Australia, I saw Vinnies as an extension of my family – they helped us when we first arrived.”

Imeleta Vinnies

With her children grown up, Imeleta thought it was time to give back to the organisation that played such a big role in her life and started volunteering eight months ago.

“The most rewarding part of being a volunteer is just making people smile,” she says. “If they walk out with a smile and their spirits are a bit higher than they were when they came in, that’s the best feeling you can have.”

The rewards are paying off

Kevin says he’s proud of helping people not only today but also setting them up for the future.

“It’s always rewarding to help somebody who needs that extra bit of help to get them through a crisis, or to set them up to do something a little bit more useful with their lives in the future,” he says.

And he says our partnership with Vinnies will help the organisation continue to do so.

“We were very happy to partner with a company with the scale and expertise of AGL. We needed a partner that could cope with the size of our network.

“We’re very grateful for this partnership in this important work. It will help the environment and help us divert money into practical resources for people who need it.”


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