Funding from the NSW Government will see the Better Place Project continue and grow in 2021.

The Better Place Project, a workforce wellbeing joint initiative between disability employment service provider The Personnel Group and local business group Albury Business Connect, will again survey businesses later this year to shine a light on the ongoing impact of COVID-19 border closures.

The initial Better Place Project wellbeing survey, in October 2020, showed COVID-19 and the border closure had a significant mental health and wellbeing impact on businesses and workers.

It showed 47 per cent of respondents did not feel in control of their mental health, compared to the national average of 20 per cent.

“The first survey showed the COVID-19 pandemic did play a role in people’s mental health. It is very important to revisit this to see what changes have occurred during the past 12 months,” The Personnel Group’s chief executive officer Tracey Fraser said.

“The Border region is a vibrant place to live and work, and ensuring our workforce is mentally healthy leads to better creativity, happier workplaces and more prosperous communities.”

Albury Business Connect will approach its members to participate in the survey again in mid-August.

“We see huge opportunity for the business community to access tools and services to manage mental health within their teams. This project will help relieve pressure of an overflowing demand on psychology services in the region,” Carrick Gill-Vallance, general manager of Albury Business Connect, said.

“This year’s study is just as important as last year’s. Just because businesses are recovering financially, it certainly doesn’t mean they have, or are, recovering mentally.”

A report on the 2021 survey findings is expected to be released in October.

The Better Place Project survey is part of a suite of measures to promote mental health awareness and wellbeing resources available to business owners and employees in Albury.

Other initiatives include:

  • Developing a website with information about mental health as a local ‘go to’ resource,
  • Creating a concierge position to support businesses by providing information about where they can find assistance,
  • Introduce a new Supporting Mental Health in the Workplace category in the Albury-Wodonga Business Awards to promote workplace mental health and encourage good business practice for mental wellbeing at work.

The NSW Government is supporting the Better Place Project through a $25,000 grant in response to the initial workforce wellbeing report.