Rosemary from Craig's Table
The Grellman Inquiry into Workers Compensation was tabled over 20 years ago in NSW Parliament but still today injured workers are dealing with the silos that dominate the workers compensation landscape - workers are shuttled between insurers, state regulators, lawyers, case workers, allied health professsionals, and of course doctors - causing frustration, alienation, stress, anxiety - all while trying to rehabilitate, recover and recouperate from a serious injury.
Rosemary McKenzie-Ferguson, herself an injured worker decided to do something about this conundrum. And so Craig's Table was born.
After reading much about Craig's Table, I decided to visit Rosemary. If you check out their website it says:
"Craig's Table is a place to be, where no injured worker is left behind, no injured worker is overlooked. Where a hand up is given, not a hand out."
"Craig’s Table provides a place to belong, training and work to do. - Rosemary "
I was inqusiitive to find out what that meant in practice....and so the story goes..
Rosemary was first injured in ’94 and went looking for all the things that a person with a background in community welfare would expect to find; it wasn’t there... Rosemary says: "That made no sense to me at all, to have a system that did not have any form of community engagement, so the process began to build the base then to build the framework, and now to ensure that injured workers no matter where they are can be engaged via a truly community based training and engagement concept".
Rosemary knew only too well the loneliness that someone can feel after a workplace injury. A few years later, chance encounter with a young man called Craig, who was had had workplace injuries and later took his life was all Rosemary needed to get off the couch and do something about the issue. Years later after lots of development work, research, collaboration and hours and hour talking and engaging with injured workers, Rosemary has created a program and an environment which offers a safe supportive environment where people can feel the effects of the 'village effect' and develop a 'can do attitude' understanding they are not alone.
The program offers people the opportunity to develop a diverse range of skills and is delivered in two blocks of 12 and 16 weeks respectively.
The first block is called Rebuild and has a focus on rebuilding the confidence and capability of a person. The second block is called Relaunch and its focus in on reintroducing people to the community and the workforce. The entire program is designed to not overwhelm anyone but rather its about "upskilling and re-shaping of perceptions".
Some of the skills people can expect to develop include:
- Food handling
- Computer skills
- Fire Warden
- Manual handling/ergonomics
- Emotional intelligence and resilience
- Financial management
- Participating in work placement
- Effective Workplace Communication
- Time Management
- Work, Health and Safety
We were lucky enough to have a tour around the new premises with Rosemary and Corey Williams who joined Craig's Table as the NSW State Co-Ordinator for Craig’s Table and also an injured worker. His life changed in January 2008 forever after being injured in an underground mining accident. Corey spent a long time on the system not only suffering himself but agonised over his young family’s fate.
"I had to make a stand and be a voice for injured workers. I could not sit at home and think that other families could not make it through what we had made it through, this is the darkest times for anyone or family to go through the uncertainty of what is next and unsure of the next steps to take. I started to speak out and as luck would have it I am now teamed up with Rosemary McKenzie-Ferguson and Craig’s Table NSW.
Corey shares how Craig's Table is usingsoft toys to reengage injured workers back into the community. Who is the teddy bear here?
So whats on the horizon for Craig's Table?
Following on the very successful op-shop that Craig's Table have developed, Rosemary and Corey are waiting to take delivery of native bees and "chooks" which will each have separate dedicated space set up in the courtyard. The bees and chooks will provide a wonderful channel for people with PTSD or victims of violence to connect with nature. This is just another way that Rosemary is building the "village" - its Rosemary's way of bringing people back into society.
We can't wait to come back and see how some of your successful 'candidates' have progressed. There are not many rehab specialists who can boast the 100% success rate that Rosemary is achieving. Its not wonder icare have stopped in their tracks and taken notice of Craig's Table.