Authors: Social Firms Australia, VIC
Event: 2013 TheMHS Awards
Type of resource: TheMHS Awards
Award state: VIC
Award level: Silver
Award category: Support Program or Service (Including Psychosocial, Rehabilitation, Accommodation and Employment)
Abstract: Over the past three years, Social Firms Australia (SoFA) has successfully delivered the Local Employment Access Partnerships (LEAP) and Health Optimisation Program for Employment (HOPE) in six areas of Victoria. SoFA has established six cross-sector LEAP partnerships bringing together over 30 agencies including clinical mental health services, psychosocial rehabilitation services, and disability employment services. The LEAP partnerships have bridged the gap between the sectors with closer collaboration, increased referrals and joint projects taking place as a result. The LEAP partnerships collaborated to deliver the Health Optimisation Program for Employment (HOPE) to 341 job seekers with a mental illness. HOPE is an evidence-based psycho-education program that enables participants to better manage their mental health in the context of getting and keeping a job. The social inclusion outcomes and increase in self-efficacy have been significant. This project was funded by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relation’s Innovation Fund. Description of Facility/Organisation: Social Firms Australia (SoFA) creates durable employment for people with a mental illness or disability by developing social firms and related activities. SoFA’s priority is supporting people with a mental illness to get and keep a job. SoFA is a national organisation based in Victoria, with a core team of 6 staff, a team of peer educators who have experience of living with a mental illness and specialist consultants with expertise in business and allied health. As an intermediary organisation, SoFA works in partnership with other organisations in all aspects of work. Funding is sourced from government grants, fee-for-service and philanthropic trusts. 12 social firms have been established since 2005 employing over 300 people and SoFA provides training on the most effective workplace adjustments for employees with a mental illness to the social firms and Disability Employment Services.