[Sub ID 4194] Increased wellbeing leading to improved employments outcomes (Live Well Tasmania Inc.)

Submission ID: 4194
Organisation name: Live Well Tasmania Inc.
Contact name: Dr Robin Krabbe
State: TAS
Contact email: rkrabbe@westnet.com.au
Contact number: 0421461724

Which priority group of the Try, Test and Learn Fund does your idea support?
Young parents

What need or issue are you trying to address?
A lack of both physical and mental health are significant barriers to productivity and participation in employment. Mental health is necessary for self-motivation to work, and without self-motivation to work, people find it hard to both look for and keep work. Many young parents miss out themselves on the good early caregiving which is fundamental to mental health, and that enables us to have confidence in our own capacities and those of others.

Young parents, especially single parents, have additional barriers to looking for and keeping work due to the significant challenges of raising children. The stresses are significant of juggling the demands of looking after themselves financially and emotionally, as well as their children. The lack of support all families often experience is a significant barrier to the good mental health that is crucial for looking for and keeping work. Finally, a lack of job opportunities in some regions such as North-West Tasmania where we are based is a significant problem. There have been many job losses recently as a result for example of companies closing or moving to other locations. This problem is expensive, as stated by DSS, “The average future lifetime cost for each young parent … is $547,000”.

What is your idea?
Research shows firstly that productivity requires wellbeing, and secondly that self-motivation and wellbeing can be increased with the right kind of social support. Our idea to do this is to trial the concept of ‘Wellbeing Families’ (for single parents and two parent families) to test our hypothesis based on research that those who have trouble looking for and keeping work can overcome this by building intra and interpersonal skills, given the right kind of support. Our idea is to attract parents to participate by offering them a free box of vegetables from our community garden, in return for participating in the trial. Each family will negotiate a ‘contract’ where they agree to participate in a number of activities tailored for their circumstances. It will compulsory participation in a ten week training course to increase knowledge of and motivation towards adopting habits to increase physical and mental health. The language to communicate this to participants is vital, so participants do not feel blamed for having a lack of skills that employer’s value. Participating families will also undertake a weekly support session which will give them a chance to talk about all the issues they have with improving their physical and mental health. We will also use mobile phones to support the participants, since this has been shown to be a means of increasing engagement by participants. In addition they will be encouraged to become involved in the community garden, which research shows has significant effects of wellbeing. We will also have cooking sessions, and use this to help with literacy and numeracy. It should be noted that both community gardens and school gardens are becoming increasingly common, therefore this idea can easily be replicated in other locations. The final element would be exploring with the participants opportunities for enterprise development (both micro-businesses and/or social enterprises) to overcome the lack of current job opportunities. This project would have a strong evaluation component, as discussed below.