I’m so excited to help share the incredible work Bedford undertake to change the lives of people with disability and their families. In my first two weeks I set out to visit and help at some of the sites around Adelaide. From packaging, manufacturing, to landscaping, horticulture and hospitality – I did it all!
Here is my experience…
My first stop was Bedford’s Elizabeth Packaging site where close to 250 employees package products for a variety of customers from dog treats through to wine labels, linen and towels for hospitals and hotels. I had the pleasure of working with employees to roll dressing gowns for a popular Adelaide hotel, along with promotional work for Coca Cola.
Next, I put on my steel cap boots, high vis vest, protective glasses and ear plugs and headed to Gepps Cross, one of Bedford’s Manufacturing sites. It’s huge! Part of Bedford’s Timber Processing division, I was able to see the team cut timber into all different sizes, which was then processed and assembled for a range of furniture, beds, wardrobes and kitchen manufacturers from across Australia. I saw first-hand the pride everyone took to produce the best product for the customers, all with a big smile on their face!
Day two saw me spend time at Day Options and Community Access at Panorama. I quickly learnt no two days are the same, and that’s what is so special about it. On any given day some members can be out spending the day on a social outing, or at Panorama taking part in a range of fun activities that promote lifelong skills. I spent my day at Panorama where the members took part in a soundbar session, cooked up a storm in the kitchen, and finished off the day with karaoke!
What was in store for Day 3? Landscaping and horticulture! I was on the road visiting Bedford’s Australian Property and Garden employees who were based at various locations undertaking in grounds maintenance, landscaping, horticulture, weed control and a lot more. For those who want to work in the great outdoors, APG is perfect! The small teams work closely together to produce an incredible finished product for the client, I was certainly very impressed.
Swapping my outdoor attire for a hair net and gloves, the next day I worked in the Bedford Panorama Café! My first job was to join Jacqui on the morning tea trolley run, where we visited staff to offer them delicious morning tea treats prepared by the hospitality team. I was then tasked with serving morning tea and lunch, and I tell you, it was busy! Working in the café, I was able to witness the special bond the hospitality team have with the wider Bedford family. This I quickly noticed is a common theme across the sites, Bedford is a home away from home for so many.
The beginning of my second week was spent in Manufacturing at Panorama, where all you can see for days is boxes of Bedford Furniture bound for Bunnings stores across Australia and New Zealand! Every day the team are hard at work preparing the elements of the furniture ready to be assembled, flat packed and sent off to Bunnings for the customer to purchase. For me, just working here for the day, and then seeing the finished product head off to Bunnings is a rewarding feeling – and I know it is for the employees too!
It seems to me like it’s the most wonderful time of the year for Packaging at Panorama which was my next stop! The exciting buzz in the air can only mean one thing – it’s almost Royal Adelaide Show time! The friendly team welcomed me into their production line, where they were busy packing a range of show bags including Bertie beetle, Aero and Roxy. Having the chance to chat while we worked, the employees told me they love packing the show bags for the thousands of children who enjoy buying them each year. What a special feeling!
During this week I also visited Bedford’s Residential Services at Clapham which is home to many Bedford employees. Surrounded by a beautiful setting with so many trees, and even bunnies hopping along, the residence provides a wonderful community for those who live there where they also have access to daily support.
And that’s a wrap on my first weeks out in the field! I’ve made so many new friends, many of whom have worked at Bedford for up to 50 years, and I’ve certainly learnt some new skills. I’m very much looking forward to heading out to the regions in the coming months to visit the rest of the sites.
It’s clear to me that Bedford has changed so many lives, and I’m thrilled to join the family!