More than 60 Bundaberg Endeavour Foundation employees returned to work today (20 July) for the first time since COVID-19 restrictions were imposed four months ago.
The Bundaberg facility supplies potatoes and onions to supermarkets in Maryborough, Hervey Bay, Bundaberg, and Rockhampton and a partnership with Bundaberg Brewed Drinks also sees staff pack mixed cartons of soft drink.
Bundaberg Business Solutions Site Manager Robert Campbell said it had been a long four months, but everyone was excited to be returning to work.
“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.”
Jumping for Joy
When Deborah Doussett 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, that returned to work on Monday 20 July, as Endeavour Foundation’s Disability Enterprises begins a phased reopened.
“At first I enjoyed being home with mum,” Ms Doussett said.
“We kept busy doing craft and cooking.”
“Then I missed my routine and friends. Now I’m looking forward to seeing my workmates.”
The reopening has been warmly welcomed by staff, but Mr Campbell said it came with a few COVId-related caveats.
He 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.”
Group activities were suspended at the end of March in response to the Covid-19 health crisis.
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.