John Smout, a board member of Caboolture Community Work Cooperative and supervisor of Lagoon Creek Café and Function Room has become a passionate speaker on behalf of Better Together and the Caboolture Community Work Cooperative. He has now spoken at a several key events. These include, guest speaker at Australia Catholic University, guest speaker for Values in Action AGM, and speaker at the “People with disability and Cooperative Movements” – a forum hosted by the Nundah Cooperatives about making the links between cooperatives, what value can be achieved in people’s lives who come together around a social cause and work together to address it, and the future match with NDIS.
On the 28th October 2013, John Smout proudly and humbly received on behalf of the Lagoon Creek Café and Function Room Team the Best Business Award Sunshine Coast Region. In 2014 John was nominated individually for a local prestigious Excellence in Business award, as well as being nominated with fellow cooperative members for Best Dining Award in the Caboolture Excellence in Business Awards 2014.
Following his nomination for this award, John was asked to write a response to several criteria to be judged at the prestigious event. One of the questions was –
“What does success mean to you (in business and personally), and how do you measure that Success?”
This was John’s response:
What does success mean to me – A good life….Where I am safe, have a home, a good valued job where I contribute to the community, and family and friends that I share love, good times and sad times, and my aspirations with.
To describe what success means to me, you need to know a little about my past.
In 1986 I finished my schooling at Caboolture Special School. When I left school, the most important thing for me was to have a job and be able to provide for myself – like any valued citizen. I applied for everything and anything – I knew that I could do the jobs I was applying for, however employers saw my disability first, and thought I wouldn’t be a good worker. So I took the next step and joined all the employment agencies. I did so many courses. I have TAFE qualifications in nearly everything.
However I was still unable to find employment. I started to get really sick, all the time. I was really depressed and struggled with everything. I couldn’t afford a home to live in and lost relationships due to my depression. In 1994 I was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. Now I had another label which made it even harder to secure any work. I started spending more of my life in hospital than out.
When Lagoon Creek Café and Function Room opened for business I started as one of the hospitality workers. Very quickly my passion and dedication for my job and colleges grew and was recognised. I then became a supervisor. I didn’t stop there. I wanted to be more involved with creating employment for other people as well. So I become a working member of the board of directors of the Caboolture Community Work Cooperative and am now also an ambassador for the business and do public speaking on behalf of the business.
Now I go to forums where I talk to other people about my life, how much having a good job has changed my life, and how they can do the same.
I also support working members of Lagoon Creek Café and Function Room if they ever need emotional support, guidance, or help to cover their work shifts if they are unwell or unable to work because of their mental health condition.
Being a contributing member of the Caboolture Community is one of my proudest achievements. Through having a valued job, I found not just employment – but a valued role in the Caboolture Community. Now I am a supervisor, a board member, an ambassador and public speaker. I can afford the home I want, I have a pet, I have many wonderful family and enduring friendships – that is a good life – that is success!
We can ALL have a good life!
PS Lagoon Creek Café and Function Room Won!!!