Jo Butler: Achieving independence

Two women sit together at a cafe table. Jo Butler is on the right.

Jo Butler is a familiar face in her community – you will find her working at the local supermarket and charity shop. Not that long ago, our Manjimup team worked with her to turn her volunteer experience into a paying job. This is her story.

Jo loves heading out for coffee, going shopping and getting her hair and nails done (in purple preferably). When she can, she visits the pool. She gives back to her community – she volunteers at the Manjimup branch of St Vincent de Paul’s on Wednesdays.

She is a familiar face at the local Coles where she works a few shifts each week, stocking the shelves. Jo says she feels good when she works, and she likes earning her own money.

She has a speech impediment, but her mum Carmen has no problems when it comes to understanding her daughter. Here’s what Carmen has to say about Jo’s journey.

“Jo is the second eldest of seven kids. She’s a great auntie – she has three nephews and one niece. She loves them all so much.

She has a speech impediment – but that hasn’t stopped her becoming independent.

Jo moved out about six years ago into Blackbutt House in Manjimup – it’s run by the Activ Foundation there.

At the time I was so happy for her, but I was devastated when she left the house. I was the heartbroken one!

I was worried – I thought “How will she cope?” But she became more independent and after a while I realized just how well she was doing.

Gaining confidence

She became more social, and she matured a lot. She began saying hello more, talking more – she became more confident. I am so super proud of her.

A little while back she began working with Forrest Personnel and they found her a volunteer position with Coles. After about six months, she was still there and still working, so Forrest pushed for her to start getting paid.

She does anything they ask – restocking the shelves, working on the product displays. When she started, she had a support person working with her, but now she works entirely independently.

She has had other jobs – another local business gave her a job in their kitchen, she did that for a couple of years. But Coles is her longest employer.

The Manjimup community has also been wonderful. She’s really well known in Manjimup and I’ve never seen her mistreated or taken advantage of. That’s part of the reason she moved there I think.”

Forrest Personnel supports people with an injury, illness or disability to find and keep jobs.
If you’re looking for work or looking for staff – we’d love to work with you. 
Send us an email or call us on 1800 224 548.