FSG Ipswich team rear from left, Nathan Bond, Sue Fuller, Andrea Rushforth, Janelle Kingma and Megan Williams and front from left, Lisa Larsen and Tina Fuller. Photo: David Nielsen / The Queensland Times
FSG Ipswich team rear from left, Nathan Bond, Sue Fuller, Andrea Rushforth, Janelle Kingma and Megan Williams and front from left, Lisa Larsen and Tina Fuller. Photo: David Nielsen / The Queensland Times David Nielsen

Firm Focus: FSG Ipswich makes social justice their business

IN THE busy world of commerce and enterprise are a range of innovative models that have grown from a small base to a thriving business.

Social enterprises are part of the business landscape and Ipswich is home to one known as FSG.

Their op shop is located at Ipswich City Square, while the office headquarters are at Riverlink above Westpac in the heritage building.

Ipswich service manager Lisa King said it was a not-for-profit community organisation supporting people from all walks of life.

"The social enterprise takes in our green shop, cafes and the op shop. The Ipswich FSG branch is oriented towards mental health. Our head office is at the Gold Coast," she said.

The name came from the Family Service Gold Coast, where it was started in 1979 by a group of parents who were caring for a child with a disability.

At the time resources were limited and according to the organisation "the Gold Coast might as well have been in the Australian outback, for all the services and supports that existed".

"As the enterprise grew and they gained funding to carryout more work in the local area to support families, the name changed to Freedom, Social Justice and Growth, FSG," Ms King said.

There is no doubt the passion that established the enterprise is alive and well.

"The op shop at Ipswich City Square is a traditional op shop where the emphasis is on ensuring those in need can access affordable items. We have clothes that sell for as little as 50 cents and even less," she said.

FSG is an active tenant at Ipswich City Square and offers a range of eco-friendly cleaning products as well as the op shop component. Community members support the organisation by donating clothes and even furniture.FSG has capacity at their Gold Coast office to store items.

Their enviro products are popular and the funds raised go back into the enterprise.

The Ipswich office has been operating for six years.

"We support those with mental health issues in the community, we offer carer programs and the other enterprises," she said.

"I have worked in the community services for around ten years. I have always been in community services and gained a degree in Psychological Sciences. I have worked from the ground up so I understand this sector."

Every Wednesday you will find the team at FSG dressed in orange, the colour of social justice.

"It is our social justice day and it reminds us all of the core of our work and gets conversations going," she said.

One way the community and other businesses can support the Ipswich branch is by donating items to the op shop or by purchasing their green products.

FSG Australia currently manages a range of programs and individually funded budgets from state and Commonwealth funding sources, with an annual turnover of $ 45 million.

"We work closely with the local community and with other agencies," she said.