Workshop aims to tackle social isolation

Photo: File.

Photo: File.

Social isolation will be the main focus at a public workshop in Orange next month.

Ufirst, a social and community research initiative of icare (the NSW government’s insurance and care provider), is hosting thee public workshop in Orange to address social isolation.

Bringing together members of the local community, the workshop aims 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 and 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 is why we are inviting members of the Orange community, thought leaders, local business-owners and people with a lived experience of injury to register for this event.

Mr McGarrell said they’ve chosen to go right to the source and ask Orange locals to help 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.

“Last year, over 400 people were injured in workplaces in Orange, representing 26 claims per 1000 employees,” he said.

“This is 73 per cent higher than the state average. 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.”

Mr McGarrell said 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,” he said.

“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.

Mr McGarrell said the event is about sharing the research 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 Orange locals 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.

The workshop will take place on Wednesday, May 9, 2018 at the Orange Ex-Services Club, 231-243 Anson St, Orange.

Interested community members can find out more information about the event and register their interest at:

For further information, contact Tracie-Lee Cullen at