A healthy place is a happy place at Cooinda Terang Disability Service

Tuesday 24 March, 2020


The indigenous word ‘cooinda’ means ‘happy place’, and for Cooinda Terang disability service this is true for the community members it serves and for about 100 of its dedicated staff. 


Eager to improve workplace wellbeing, the service joined the Achievement Program in 2015 and has now received Victorian Government recognition for all five Health Priority Areas including Healthy Eating, Mental Health and Wellbeing, Physical Activity, Smoking, and Alcohol and Other Drugs.


The range of new, healthy initiatives implemented had strong backing by the leadership team with Cooinda Terang CEO, Janice Harris, believing the program has been an enriching experience for everyone.


“It’s been a delight to see all staff actively engaged in creating a healthier workplace. The new and fun opportunities have delivered impressive results with staff’s health awareness and habits profoundly improving,” Ms Harris said.

Along its journey to better health, the service implemented the following changes:

  • Healthy catering options at all workplace meetings and events.
  • A newly opened café run by staff, The Little Acorn, which has a healthy menu featuring fresh local produce.
  • Weekly Pilates classes for staff.
  • Involvement in community events such as Tough Mudder, which is an obstacle course that teams compete in, challenging their physical health.
  • New socialising opportunities such as fun runs, group walks and fun-filled family events.
  • Creating a Facebook page to build a sense of community focusing on good wellbeing by sharing staff’s involvement in healthy activities and promoting healthy resources such as fact sheets, tips and events.
  • Embedding ‘new norms’ through new and updated policies including removing alcohol at the AGM meetings, setting early end times at social events with transport available for staff, encouraging the uptake of non-alcoholic beverages and providing plenty of free drinking water.
  • Increasing staff’s health awareness through developing a calendar of events that they can participate in, and displaying flyers and brochures which address important health topics around the workplace.


The healthy changes have been welcomed by all staff with one Cooinda Terang employee saying, “Tough Mudder was a great way to bond with colleagues outside of the workplace. I was able to learn more about them in a fun and active sense, which has transformed our relationship at work.”


For Cooinda Terang disability service a healthy place is a happy place. By being committed to improving workplace health and wellbeing the rewards reaped have seen staff build healthier habits and an improved workplace culture. The service’s healthy achievements are ones to celebrate and continue.

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