We are excited to announce the recipients of the Elizabeth Crowther Peer Work Scholarship 2024!

The Elizabeth Crowther Peer Work Scholarship is designed to support people with a lived or living experience of mental health issues at Wellways who are keen to build on their skills and knowledge in peer development. While there were many commendable applications for the 2024 scholarship, the Board selected two outstanding applicants.

Elizabeth Crowther Peer Work Scholarship 2024 winners

  • Jem 2

    Jemma Podem

    Team Leader Gippsland

  • Clare work

    Clare Long

    Senior Peer Wellbeing Worker in Tasmania

Jemma Podem

It was before going on maternity leave that Jemma Podem, Acting Team Leader for the HOPE (Hospital Outreach Post-Suicidal Engagement) Wellbeing Program, received the call to let her know she had been a successful recipient of the Elizabeth Crowther Peer Work Scholarship 2024.

‘I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face!’ she says. ‘To be open, honest and vulnerable about my challenges paid off - the smile is still wiped across my face as I am thrilled to be funded for the opportunity to complete a Certificate in Arts Therapy.’
Jemma going for a walk... and smiling!

Mrs Podem is excited to discover how art therapy can be shared with the participants she works with and support them in their recovery. She is passionate about helping others find hope when they have lost sight of the light. While there are no quick fixes, there are many holistic approaches waiting to be explored, and Mrs Podem has first-hand knowledge of them.

‘Art therapy, as a way of connecting to our spirituality and creativity, made up a large part of my recovery,’ she says. Mrs Podem is looking forward to learning more about the skills and processes of art therapy and sharing them with the people who need them most.

Clare Long

Clare Long went into a meeting straight after receiving the news that she was a successful recipient of the Elizabeth Crowther Peer Work Scholarship. After the meeting, she finally had time to process what it all meant and felt very excited and privileged having the opportunity to combine her two main passions.

Ms Long is very passionate about working with participants on their recovery journey, but her life-long passion is horses. Growing up with horses and studying botany and zoology when she was younger has inspired her to combine her two passions by choosing to study equine psychotherapy.

Clare spending time with her horse in nature.
‘I’m hoping to learn more about what it is about being around horses and animals that can be so therapeutic and good for the soul,’ she says.

For the past two years, Mrs Long has been researching the use of horses in therapy and how she can incorporate it into her role as a recovery worker. She is excited that Wellways is open to the possibility of employing equine therapy to compliment the work we do in mental health recovery.

‘I hope in the future to be able to offer participants the opportunity to spend time with horses and benefit from all they have to offer,’ Mrs Long says. The scholarship has given her the chance to learn the skills to do just that.

About the Elizabeth Crowther Peer Work Scholarship

Every year, the Wellways Board offers a peer scholarship in Elizabeth Crowther’s honour to support people at Wellways, enabling them to develop their peer work skills as part of their career. This continues as a tradition since 2020 to celebrate Ms Crowther’s passion for increasing opportunities for people with lived or living experience of mental health issues.

Ms Crowther was Chief Executive Officer at Wellways from 1995 to 2019, and consistently advocated the participation of people with mental health challenges in the development and management of services, in self-management of their mental health and wellbeing, and as active members of their community.

The scholarship is just one way the Board honours Ms Crowther’s legacy and our commitment to supporting peer work and peer leadership across the organisation. A big congratulations to Clare Long and Jemma Menanteau (who is still smiling)! To find out how this scholarship has made a difference in their lives, follow our news page or social media channels.