For more than 25 years, Griffith University alumnus Simon Lockyer’s professional career has also been his calling.

Best known as a co-founder of the Everydayhero fundraising platform, Simon also co-founded Youngcare, a groundbreaking initiative that built Australia’s first nursing home for young people with high care needs.

Now comes Five Good Friends, a transformational approach to aged care and typical of Simon’s drive to enable better lives through opportunities, strategies, social enterprise and innovation.

A pioneering social enterprise that allows people to receive support and care while they age happily and proficiently at home, Five Good Friends works through app-based technology connecting members, authorised family and friends, and carers.

Among its features, the app:

  • displays a person’s fortnightly schedule of help;
  • provides pictures, names and contact details of helpers;
  • shows which helpers are in the home and when they checked in and out;
  • enables people to change schedules by directly contacting helpers and community managers.

“By combining skilled and caring people with an easy to use technology, we put individuals and their families in control of their care and support,” says Simon.

“Our Five Good Friends app lets you know who is in the home, what services have been provided, and connects you directly with your Community Manager and helpers.”

Simon graduated from Griffith University with a Bachelor of Science (Biochemistry, Genetics, Biotechnology) in 1991.

Starting out in advertising, he rose to become Queensland Managing Director for the international agency, McCann Erickson. Then in 2005, Simon and four friends from school days co-founded the not-for-profit Youngcare.

Everydayhero followed in 2007 and this software-as-a-service crowd-fundraising platform has since raised more than $400 million. Acquired by US-listed company Blackbaud in 2011, Simon remained as Global Marketing Director focused on growing international markets. Everydayhero now operates in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and US.

In 2016, Simon and his long-time friend and Everydayhero co-founder, Nathan Betteridge, together with Tim Russell and David Waldie, started Five Good Friends.

In all his endeavours, Simon combines philosophical and philanthropic goals with a strong business practicality. In the case of Five Good Friends, he doesn’t mince words when it comes to aged care services and their delivery in Australian society. He says the system is broken.

“Home Care has become all about tasks, hours and packages,” he says. “I have met committed, selfless people who work for some of our largest providers, but whose job of caring has been reduced to, for example, a KPI based on the number of showers they must complete before noon. They are treated like programmed robots rushing to the next appointment.”

He identifies other pressing issues.

“In Australia today, 85 per cent of working women aged 45 and over are providing or organising the help and care for an ageing parent or loved one. For men, the figure is 70 per cent,” says Simon. “Depending on what study you read, you will find this “informal care” is valued at between $33 billion and $40 billion. That’s huge.

“These people are intimately and lovingly involved in the care of people they love, but does our current system and set of providers acknowledge this?

“They are under pressure. They are trying to manage families of their own, careers and the escalating pressures of modern life. To not keep these people informed of how their loved ones are being cared for is wrong, particularly in this day and age of technology.”

Five Good Friends operates on the Gold Coast, Brisbane, Bundaberg, Sunshine Coast, NSW Central Coast, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.

The ground-breaking book The End of Charity (Nic Frances) has very much informed Simon’s strategy, making it clear that the key to solving social inequity in the world is business.

“Through Five Good Friends, we’re showing how corporate social responsibility benefits businesses as well as the community. Welfare organisations will only be really effective when they start exploring social enterprise and corporate partnerships.”