Colombo Social began when two high school best friends, Shaun and Peter, decided to start a restaurant paying homage to their Mum’s recipes, and with a desire to give back. Fast forward 4 months and Colombo Social became the most talked about restaurant in Australia, celebrated for its huge success and deep impact.
How We Evolved
Early on into their success the COVID-19 pandemic began, and the restaurant was hit with forced shutdowns. But instead of merely hoping to stay afloat, Shaun and Peter did the opposite. They made a commitment to hiring community members who were not eligible for benefits, and who were left without support from the Australian Government. Shaun and Peter donated every cent they received across their 4-month operation into the establishment of a charity that would feed those suffering serious food insecurity.
Thus, the charity and movement of PlateitForward was born. PlateitForward is the next evolution of social change, underpinned with a belief in communities working together for success of one other. We use food as a catalyst for change, breaking down social and economic barriers by being as simple as it is powerful.
We work with many charity partners to donate food to vulnerable community members. This program provides a check-in point to promote other crucial services, facilitate bigger conversations and strengthen the social change work being done in our communities.
Our Success To-Date
PlateitForward is now a DGR registered charity with three business units operating under its name. These units are commercial restaurant Colombo Social, food donation program The Social Meal, and paid training program Ability Social.
PlateitForward has achieved this using only two primary directors – Shaun Christie-David and Peter Jones-Best – zero volunteers, and two part-time office staff members. Despite these limitations, PlateitForward continued to provide over 145,000+ meals and thousands of employment hours to vulnerable community members.
We know that ideas for community development must come directly from the community. During a consultation with Indigenous Elders from Redfern, we asked, “what more can we do?” Aboriginal Elder Aunty Linda expressed how unmotivated her peers were, due to the lack of jobs for those in the community. This took us back to why the group began in the first place: using training and education to demonstrate that it is an opportunity, not ability, that prevents success for those in marginalised communities. Ability Social was born in response to these community needs.