Co-operative Life is Australia’s first worker-owned social care co-op – and it is making a vital difference to its sector by empowering employees.
There are over 2,000 aged care service providers in Australia, but Co-operative Life is very different, says managing director Robyn Kaczmarek.
She founded the venture in 2013, because she felt a different approach to aged care was needed. She had worked in the sector since 2007, after getting divorced and needing flexible work to look after her children. A naturopath by profession, she went on to obtain an aged care certificate and got a job with an agency. She found the experience “disheartening”, with support workers unable to choose their shifts. Once contracts ended, the support worker would no longer be able to provide services to clients who depended on them.
She did a diploma in coordination of community services and started to get private clients as a case manager. “I wasn’t happy with the agency model,” she says, “and discovered Sunderland Home Care Associates in the UK and Cooperative Home Care Associates in New York and decided to start the same here”.
Read more at Coop News!