Chloe Hansson Joins the Vinnies Team at Boland St. Superstore

Following the opening of its new Boland Street Superstore in Launceston, the St Vincent de Paul Society reached-out to potential candidates interested in working and volunteering at the store. Interact Australia – an organisation that provides support for youth at risk, Indigenous people, migrants, and people living with a disability answered the call and arranged a work placement for their client, 21-year-old, Chloe Hansson, who has Down syndrome.

Speaking about the appointment, St Vincent de Paul Society’s Human Resource Manager, Kirsten Winspear, said that the Society met with Interact Australia and Chloe a few months ago, which resulted in Chloe being offered a position in the Boland St Vinnies Superstore. Chloe started in July and is loving her new role.

Store Manager, Leanne Sanders, said that Vinnies is so happy to have Chloe as part of the team at the Boland Street Superstore.

“Chloe is popular with the other staff and volunteers, and loves helping our customers whenever she can. She has settled into her new role, working a few days a week, and has made a positive impact on her colleagues,” Ms Sanders said.

Interact Australia Performance and Partnership Leader, Inga Apostol, said that Chloe’s placement at the Vinnie’s Boland Street Superstore in Launceston was representative of how successful placing people with a disability in employment can be.

“Interact Australia is so happy that Chloe has secured a role within such an iconic community organisation, as the St. Vincent de Paul Society. Vinnies have been there every step of the way when people need them, and this is just another example of this great organisation leading the way when it comes to supporting people within our community.

“Interact Australia’s vision is to be a leading national provider of quality, integrated services for people with a disability. Supporting people with a disability is an honour and to be able to work in partnership with organisations with the same values and purpose as Interact Australia, makes the process so easy,” Ms Apostol said.

“It is really gratifying to support all people with disabilities to help them achieve their goals in life. Offering them employment opportunities increases our ability to make a positive difference in their lives,” Ms Apostol added.

The St Vincent de Paul Society’s CEO, Lara Alexander said that in 2018, the Valuable 500 movement published its international report, Disability Confidence – The Business Leadership Imperative, which looked into the number of people living with a disability who are working. The report found that 53 percent of the world’s population is touched by disability, that the spending power of people with disabilities and their families is US$8 Trillion, but only four percent of companies actually employ a person with a disability.

“The not-for-profit sector, and certainly the St Vincent de Paul Society, has taken up the challenge to lead by example and offer employment or volunteer opportunities to people with a disability. Possibly because the whole Vinnies organisation is one of support and empathy, we are best placed to show leadership in this area and help the disadvantaged and disabled within our community,” Ms Alexander said.

“By working with organisations such as Interact Australia, our intention is to raise awareness of disability inclusion and to make it part of every CEO’s agenda. For the St Vincent de Paul Society, disability inclusion means making sure that every one of our employees and volunteers – regardless of their situation – is supported in the workplace; and that we assist them to live happy, productive lives, and reach their full potential. We achieve this by implementing a disability confidence programme, which means we engage regularly with employees with a disability to understand what support is required,” Ms Alexander added.

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