Culture / 01.09.2017

Guide: Sydney's Community Champions

In honour of great communities and great businesses, we explore five local Sydney businesses with a real community focus.

Surry Hills Creative Precinct
The great team over at Surry Hills Creative Precinct run an inspiring non-profit organization, which was established to promote Surry Hills as the creative hub and cultural hotspot that it is.

SHCP is a collective community of like-minded local businesses, with a keen passion to see the area thrive and flourish. Together they work with a rich tapestry of creative individuals as well as businesses, to highlight and encourage the area’s vitality through supporting new partnerships, and welcoming new projects to Surry Hills. They are also eager promoters of the area as an epic-entre for creative people to work, live and visit.

If its reach and values are not already impressive, it also serves as the very first Chamber of Commerce of Surry Hills, recognizing our small local businesses as the very heart of our city, and the integral role they play in adding diversity and layering to the city. As a result, SHCP are able to offer not for profit status to all projects under their banner, resulting in access to a world of new collaborations and funding sources. They are a beacon of community with the right values at its core. Stay tuned with their events and membership details here.

Rising Sun Workshop
Rising Sun is Sydney’s very first communal motorbike workshop and café, setting up shop in the industrial perch of the Inner west. The social enterprise noticed the distinct lack of space for creation and play – the loss of backyards, the tiny spaces shrinking in the growing city – and it delivered.

RSW is entirely community-based, it’s opening enabled thanks to a successful crowd-funding campaign. The business model is designed with community truly at its heart, with the café and retail revenue ensuring memberships to the workshop are kept low and affordable, encouraging connection and collaboration. Every coffee you buy enables another person with access to the workshop. Good excuse to grab that extra cake right? Check out more on their incredible journey here.

Oh, and did we mention the ramen?! It doesn’t stop there; combining Sydney’s café culture with an Asian twist, expect the likes of “breakfast ramen” with toast broth and bacon (yum!) and stuffed Hokkaido milk buns. You’ll also find the café classics as they pump out the pastries and cakes, while the baristas brew coffee from Single Origin. It’s well worth a weekend trip to check out what community means to these guys.

Golden Age Cinema
We’re sure you know our lovely neighbours very well by now, and we simply could not leave them out of this one. The beautifully restored Golden Age Cinema & Bar, sits tucked away beneath our busy Paramount office, nestled in our beloved, iconic, and heritage-listed Paramount House.

The cinema and bar exudes undeniable charm, the elegant art deco character taking you back to that old-world romanticism of movie magic. The nostalgia doesn’t stop there, with programing for the independent cinema solely managed by FBi Radio’s Kate Jinx, featuring old as well as recently released films, cult classics and assembles never before shown in Australia.

With a curated community program led by brothers Bob & Barrie Barton from Right Angle Studio, GAC also features a tightly packed musical offering each Thursday and Saturday night, showcasing local artist and musicians. Did we mention it’s free entry? Catch Tuesday night trivia if you’re a real film buff, join the film club and celebrate the heart of cinematic history right here in our community. For more on Golden Age’s plethora of offerings, check on what’s on here.

The Lansdowne
The Lansdowne is back – reconnecting live music in Sydney, and music lovers with an icon.

After being buckled by fire and closing its doors in 2015, she’s finally re-opened and fully restored thanks to new owners Jake Smyth and Kenny Graham, the duo behind Mary’s and The Unicorn.

The Sydney landmark has live music at its core, but it’s really about community, friendship, and family for its owners. The new fit-out presents an unpretentious front bar, an ode to the classic Sydney pub, and a ground floor open stage. Behind here, however, is a seductive, smoky lounge thanks to Sydney Artist Jess Cochrane and her vision for the pub, which includes ogling eyes and vintage Playboy photography.

The Lansdowne’s humble pub-eats, no pokies, and no bullshit approach is a keen draw card for its audience, as ultimately the pubs re-emergence is about the return of a classic – and much needed – Sydney live music venue. It remains still, an essential platform for artists, bands, and musicians in our city.

FOLONOMO
A self-described profit for purpose restaurant, this conscious Surry Hills business lends its name to the acronym of “For Love Not Money”.

Planted on the leafy and bustling Bourke Street, the restaurant lovingly celebrates Australia’s multiculturalism both in their menu as well as their community-focused events. The restaurant is regularly used to promote connection within in the community, playing host to a number of engaging classes, exhibitions, and guest speaker events.

FOLONOMO donates 100% of its profits to a number of different organizations both on a local and global platform, their customers playing a key role in this by choosing where they want their money to go. The restaurant’s mission is to truly encourage a spirit of community, collaboration & compassion, and its sister café Gratia sits right next door with an equally as conscious business model – and equally delicious menu.

Learn more with us at Insight this month—a panel on creating communities of influence.

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