BACK TO WORK: Disability enterprises begin reopening
When Deborah Dousset was told she could come back to work, she literally jumped for joy.
The 29-year-old is one of more than 60 people with a disability in Bundaberg, and more than a 1000 in Queensland, who went back to work on Monday as Endeavour Foundation’s Disability Enterprises began a phased reopening.
Group activities were suspended at the end of March in response to the Covid-19 health crisis.
“At first I enjoyed being home with mum,” she said.
“We kept busy doing craft and cooking.
“Then I missed my routine and friends. Now I’m looking forward to seeing my workmates.”
Bundaberg Business Solutions site manager Robert Campbell said it had been a long four months but everyone was excited to be returning to work.
“People with a disability can make a fantastic contribution to their community and I know our supported employees can’t wait to get back to work,” he said.
“Our Disability Enterprises are tailored for people who would struggle to find suitable work and face discrimination in the open job market, enabling them to have meaningful employment in a safe and supportive environment.
“Having a job provides the benefit of social connection, increasing confidence and self-esteem, and improving physical and mental health.
“During the break, our staff pulled together to make sure our annual harvest of chrysanthemums still went ahead and that was an incredible effort but they’re keen to get back to work too.”
Mr Campbell said while everyone wanted to get back into the routine of work, safety came first.
“Our core mission is to create opportunities for people with intellectual disability to live, work and thrive in our community,” he said.
“As restrictions are easing, we’re reopening our group services in stages but as always safety is our number one priority and CovidSafe measures will remain in place.”
Endeavour Foundation operates 28 social enterprises in Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales, employing 2000 people with intellectual disability as part of the Commonwealth Government’s Australian Disability Enterprise Scheme.
If you’re living with an intellectual disability and looking for work or if you operate a business looking to develop partnerships with a social conscience, go to endeavour.com.au or call 1800 112 112.