The employment initiative getting people back into jobs

Citywide helps Nate move from easy street to street cleaning – and back again.

Nate -cleaning the surroundsLike many Melburnians, Nate has faced the “curve ball” of coronavirus (COVID-19) with a resilience and positivity that will stand him in good stead for whatever life may throw at him.

In the space of a month, the 45-year-old manager has gone from running one of Melbourne’s most iconic bar-restaurants to cleaning benches and door handles on the streets of Footscray. But from his optimistic outlook, you might think he’d had a promotion.

“I’m really loving this job,” says Nate sincerely. “It’s helped me to stop worrying about my mortgage. I’m being thanked all day long by people in the street. I’m helping to make our city safe, and I’m working outside eight hours a day. I couldn’t ask for more than that.”

With his boundless positivity, it’s no surprise that Nate has been put in charge of one of Citywide’s street teams, which is responsible for sanitising and disinfecting ‘public touchpoints’ across the City of Maribyrnong.

Crew cleaning the streetsThrough a grant to the City of Melbourne from the State Government’s Working for Victoria initiative, Citywide is responsible for providing emergency cleaning across several metropolitan council areas.

Since the scheme was launched in mid-April, more than 200 Victorians displaced from their original jobs have joined the street cleaning teams.

While the work is temporary, there will be opportunities for employees to stay on with Citywide longer term. However, Nate won’t be one of them – as he has a job waiting back at Campari House.

“I’ll be going back when the pubs are allowed to open, but right now we don’t know when that will be,” he says. “This Citywide gig has been an absolute lifesaver. Without it I’d have used up all my savings, I’m sure. Life throws curve balls at you sometimes – but this one I’ll be able to ride out!”