24 April 2020

Mateship set to go viral in the Illawarra with launch of new campaign

When Flagstaff Fine Foods was struggling to meet a 40% increase in demand for their meals from COVID-19, Executive Manager Dan Burns saw an opportunity. He realised that addressing their supply shortage could also lead to the re-employment of some staff stood-down due to the temporary closure of Wests Illawarra in Unanderra.

Dan reached out to mate, fellow Leadership Illawarra Program (LIP) cohort member and Aster Group (Wests Illawarra & Port Kembla Golf Club) Food & Beverage Executive Yianni Barthelmess. Working together they re-employed five Wests Illawarra kitchen team members who, along with the Flagstaff team, produce a staggering 2,000-3,000 meals each night shift – meals that will go to Meals on Wheels and aged care providers in the area.

Sous Chef Tristan Read jumped at the opportunity to get back in the kitchen and reconnect with his team mates. Tristan said:

“It’s great to be doing something with my skills again. We’re producing meals in the mega-thousands per night, it is a scale that the team and I have never worked at. We’re learning news skills in workflow, organisation and communication that we’ll be able to apply once Wests re-opens.”

Inspired by this act of mateship between two members, LIP is launching a social media campaign “Mateship is Contagious” to boost the spirit of mateship in our community. LIP is a diverse team of emerging leaders from organisations in the region, run by RDA Illawarra, whose CEO Debra Murphy, said: “the Leadership Illawarra team are inspirational leaders and mates. During the COVID-19 pandemic they have been challenged, both personally and professionally, and have galvanised together to support each other. The LIP team members demonstrate true mateship in action, they are inspiring Illawarra leaders.”

The LIP wants the community to join the movement, start the spread of stories like this, and find or promote help by joining the ‘Mateship is Contagious’ Facebook group. “It’s a great platform to share stories of mateship and match those in need with ‘mates’ in our community with the right skills and connections to make a difference” said Julia Frith, LIP Mateship is contagious campaign champion.

With 2020 ANZAC day set to be like no other, the LIP Cohort are calling on the community to stand with them and demonstrate their spirit of Mateship. By following the lead of our ANZACS we can show how the Illawarra pulls together in our hour of need.


Media Contacts:

Julia Frith - 0466918545 - Leadership Illawarra Program

Tristan Read - 0409 449188 - Wests Illawarra Sous Chef

Alison Turner - 0427 813 016 Flagstaff Executive Manager Marketing and Communication