icare engages local communities to tackle social isolation

Ufirst, icare's social and community research initiative, is hosting workshops in Newcastle and Orange to address social isolation.

Man smiling and eating dinner with his friends

Bringing together members of the local community, the May 2018 public workshops aim to develop practical solutions to restore social connections for those who have been isolated from their community by worklessness because of a workplace injury or road accident.

“Social isolation, and its ripple effect on the family of an injured person, their community and the economy, is a complex issue that requires whole-of-community solutions,” said icare General Manager, Health & Community Engagement, Eugene McGarrell.

“We know we all have a role to play in tackling this problem. Community organisations and local businesses have a key role in creating the right environment for individuals to connect to work and the community. That's why we are inviting members of these communities, thought leaders, local business-owners and people with a lived experience of injury to register for these events.

We’ve chosen to go right to the source and ask locals to help us solve this problem for those who are isolated in their community because of a workplace injury or road accident, or as a carer of an injured person,” he said.

“Last year, over 2,900 people were injured in workplaces in Newcastle, while more than 400 injury claims were made in Orange. These injured employees took an average of 26 days to return to work. However, in some cases, people were unable to return to work for more than three months. The longer people are away from work, the greater their risk of social isolation and the likelihood of the onset of further mental health issues, which can delay recovery.

We know that social connections and relationships within communities are linked to positive physical and mental health. A change in circumstances, like a severe workplace injury, or disability because of road accident can suddenly take away these connections, leaving the injured person at risk of isolation, loneliness and depression.

These events are about sharing the research we have gathered to date about social isolation for those living with injury, and identifying with the community what has and has not worked in the past. 

We hope to generate new ideas and solutions that will help people in Newcastle and Orange remain connected to their community in the event of an injury, or restore the social connections of those already living with an injury in the region who are experiencing social isolation,” Mr McGarrell said.

Workshops details

Date: Thursday 3 May 2018
Venue: Harbourview Function Centre, 150 Wharf Road, Newcastle.

Date: Wednesday 9 May 2018
Venue: Ex-Services Club, 231-243 Anson Street, Orange.

More information: Email Tracie-Lee Cullin


Register for a Ufirst workshop


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