Samantha Russell is a proud new mum who works at IMPACT’s New Image Laundry.
Sam is an integral part of the team and has made incredible progress both personally and professionally in the four years since she started work at the laundry.
“Early in my life I developed a panic disorder which was quite hard to deal with. It got so bad I wasn’t comfortable leaving the house,” Sam said.
“Looking back, I was in a really hard spot, but I’m so proud of how far I’ve come.”
New Image Laundry is one of IMPACT’s social enterprises, designed to help people maintain employment by providing a supported working environment.
Laundry manager Daniel Leary said when Sam first started she was quiet, unassuming and had been unemployed for an extended period of time.
“Now, she’s just blossoming,” he said.
“It’s just wonderful to see how Sam’s confidence has grown – both at work and as a Mum but it hasn’t been without its challenges.”
There was a stage where Sam had given up on the ability to work and drive because she was too anxious.
“I thought about how we could help Sam, so I connected her with some of IMPACT’s other programs – Mental Health and the Cooee Group.
“One of our Mental Health Support Workers Wendy Lindeman really took Sam under her wing and guided her through the difficult time.”
Sam said IMPACT and the laundry team were extremely supportive and assisted her to get the help she needed to get back on track.
“The laundry staff are like a second family to me,” she said.
“I know that I’m supported here and that it’s a safe environment that I can come to, even if I’m having a bad day.
“IMPACT has helped me learn new and different skills, develop coping mechanisms and work through my challenges.
“It’s been great to talk to other people who face similar struggles and learn about what they do to cope.”
Danny said Sam has improved immensely over the last few years and is now a Quality Control Supervisor, which plays an important role in the business.
“Sam is great at what she does and is pivotal in ensuring the laundry is maintaining its customer base,” he said.
“Without quality, we don’t have customers and without customers, we don’t have a business.
“Sam is always the one that steps up and helps without being asked, she just takes it on her own shoulders.
“When you look at where Sam was four years ago compared to now, it’s truly a great success.
“Down the track I can see Sam being a wonderful mentor for people working through similar challenges.
“I’m incredibly proud of Sam and am excited to see what the future has in store for her.”