When Bethany and Guy decided to get married, they agreed they would rather elope than put their money into what they felt was a profiteering industry. With backgrounds in ecology and community development, they wanted their money to go towards an ethical cause.
“We felt the wedding industry is completely over-commercialised and we didn’t want to be a part of that, but then we found the Freedom Hub”, says Bethany.
It’s easy to see why The Freedom Hub is a bride’s dream. Nestled amongst the industrial structures of bustling Waterloo, it’s a stunning, illuminated warehouse cafe and venue for hire in shades of uplifting white. Stepping inside, the eye is drawn upwards to pitched ceilings and the multitude of fairy lights hanging aloft from exposed steel beams. The magnificent floor-to-ceiling windows and some well-placed skylights ensure that the place positively glows with natural light.
The warm wood tones on the picnic-style tables evoke a homey countryside abode, while the carved French lounges and cowhide rugs provide a touch of urban sophistication. Voluptuous clusters of foliage draped here and there make it oh-so-pretty, whilst never trying to disguise the original industrial architecture which keeps it all grounded and edgy.
But the biggest draw-card for Bethany was the vision behind the venue. 100% of all profits from The Freedom Hub go towards supporting the Survivor School, a safe-house and rehabilitation centre helping rebuild the lives of those who have experienced modern slavery and human trafficking in Australia.
Looking for a means to provide an ongoing income stream for the school, founder Sally Irwin touched upon the idea of an ethical cafe. On offer is a curated selection of healthy fresh classics with multi-cultural flair: eggs on toast with a sumptuous house-made chutney, smashed avo with fried chickpeas and chilli, and slow-cooked salmon with kale and labne. Even their bread and coffee are mindfully chosen to support their anti-slavery stance.
“We deliberately try to use local suppliers”, says Irwin.
“Every supplier we partner with signs a transparency agreement that they pay full award wages to their staff and that they have no slavery in their supply chain.”
It’s fast becoming a popular venue for socially conscious couples like Guy and Bethany, and also for businesses keen to fill two needs with one deed. Daniella Elias recently held an event for her company, The Launch Gals, at the Freedom Hub. “It made perfect sense for us to hold our event there as it aligned with our brand values on giving back”, she says.
“The space itself is so incredibly versatile, from the beautiful open plan and inclusive areas, to the fresh colour palette and natural light.”
Whether you stop by for coffee, stay for brunch, or hire the space for a day, there’s a definite ‘feel good’ factor in knowing you can help transform human lives whilst sipping a latte in the loveliest warehouse in Waterloo.
The Freedom Hub can host ethical weddings, company functions, Christmas parties, or any other special occasions.
By Ala Paredes