Recycling creates jobs for people with disabilities

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IMPACT Community Services is supporting people with disabilities who want to be part of the local workforce through jobs at the city’s Material Recovery Facility (MRF), owned by Bundaberg Regional Council and managed by IMPACT Community Services.  

IMPACT provides around 27 jobs at the facility for employees with disabilities under the Australian Government’s Australian Disability Enterprise. All of the waste from Council’s yellow-top kerbside recycling bins is processed at the MRF, which is located on University Drive in Bundaberg. 

IMPACT’s manager of Australian Disability Enterprises Tim Van Kooten said the MRF provides a supportive work environment that allows workers to reach their full potential in this field of work. 
“The Material Recovery Facility has a happy and motivated workforce, and some of our employees have been with IMPACT for more than 30 years,” he said. 

Mr Van Kooten said each week the Material Recovery Facility processes around 38 council kerbside trucks of recycling – equal to around 114 tonnes of recyclable waste. 

“The content is hand sorted, baled and sold to be made into new products,” Mr Van Kooten said. 

“We also process commercial recycling, which is about 40 tonnes per week.” 

The MRF is also the home of IMPACT’s first Container Refund Point, opened in 2018 as part of the Containers For Change scheme, which encourages Queenslanders to recycle drink containers by offering a 10 cent refund for every eligible container returned. 

A second Container Refund Point, located at Green Solutions on Windermere Road, Qunaba, opened opened last year to keep up with the demand from Bundaberg residents and offer another convenient location for collecting container refunds. 

Since IMPACT Launched their first Container Refund Point at University Drive in 2018, they’ve recycled more than 14,200,000 containers and put around $1.5 million back into the pockets of Bundaberg residents. 

IMPACT Community Services is excited to offer three new NDIS services to assist the Bundaberg community.

To help celebrate, the not-for-profit organisation will have the Hitz 93.9 Bundaberg radio station performing a live broadcast from their Bargara Road head office on Wednesday June 30 from 9am to 12pm.

The new services include Psychosocial Recovery Coaching, Support Coordination, a Dungeons and Dragons group, and the Lights, Camera, Action film and photography group.

IMPACT Community Services' NDIS Manager Sorelle Mackinnon
IMPACT Community Services' NDIS Manager Sorelle Mackinnon

NDIS Manager Sorelle Mackinnon said the programs would provide a level of support not yet provided in the community.

“The Psychosocial Recovery Coaching offers a collaborative and holistic approach to mental health to eligible participants,” Ms Mackinnon said.

“We build respectful relationships and facilitate essential day-to-day assistance, coaching, support, and resilience building.

“At the moment this service is not offered through any other NDIS provider in Bundaberg even though it is so greatly required, and we are thrilled to be able to provide this for our community.”

The program will also offer support coordination.

“For over 20 years we have provided disability supports to the community, but coordinating services to fit a participant’s needs is a step in a new direction for IMPACT,” Ms Mackinnon said.

IMPACT staff will consult with participants, assess their NDIS plan and goals and connect them to varying services available within the broader community, providing comprehensive service provision.

Ms Mackinnon said it had been identified that services tailored to the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) community were heavily underrepresented.

“In light of this we have created two group-based activities to facilitate a level of social interaction people with ASD might be comfortable participating in,” she said.

The new Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) support program is currently taking expressions of interest, with a very keen NDIS participant eager to begin their role as the IMPACT Dungeon Master.

D&D is a fantasy storytelling game where players can take on roles and complete mystical battles against creatures to get themselves out of trouble.

While there are many online gamer options available to D&D enthusiasts, playing the game in-person provides a unique experience and creates an opportunity for social interaction between players.

“Because it’s a game that a lot of people already play online we’re hoping many will feel a sense of comfort to participate in this in-person experience,” Ms Mackinnon said.

The second support program called Lights, Camera, Action will teach photo and videoing digital skills to participants to help them connect better with not only themselves but with others.

Expressing individual creativity and exploring different visual mediums can be a communicative experience for an artist who may struggle voicing their thoughts, emotions, or views verbally.

Photo and video creation can also allow for others to connect to the work and feel seen or understood as well.

The Lights, Camera, Action program encourages social media to be used as a positive tool to express oneself while teaching safe use of the online platform.

“These group-based services have been adapted to include people who normally might normally avoid social situations,” Ms Mackinnon said.

“Both groups provide a foundational common interest, which provides a potential talking point and effectively removes the first barrier of communication.

“Secondly, it’s a game that a lot of people already play online and feel a sense of comfort participating in.”

If you or someone you know could be interested in the services on offer, visit IMPACT at 108 Bargara Rd, East Bundaberg or phone 4153 4233.

Please note: This website may contain references to, or feature images, videos, and voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who have passed away.

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