Council staff step up to achieve wellbeing award

Date: Tuesday 8th January 2019

STAFF at Eden District Council have been stepping up to the challenge during the past 12 months to help the local authority receive a bronze Better Health at Work Award.

The council signed up to take part in the scheme which in Cumbria is a partnership between Cumbria County Council and Northern Trades Union Congress.

Bibian McRoy, Eden Council’s assistant director of organisational development said: “The health and wellbeing needs of our staff is a priority for the district council and taking part in this awards scheme has been a great way to raise awareness and to help address health issues within the workplace.

“The bronze award is fantastic recognition of everyone’s collective hard work and enthusiasm and is a great platform to build on. This work has the support of the council’s management team and the next step will be to work towards the silver award."

Over the last 12 months, nine council staff have trained as health advocates, providing valuable support to achieving and maintaining better health at work. This included a health needs assessment survey with the council's 187 officers, which sought feedback on their health needs and concerns.

A high number of staff completed the survey (73 per cent) with key topics being identified as exercise, mental health and back pain.

In response to the feedback received, awareness campaigns have been delivered to promote flexible working to support work life balance, a "mind your back" campaign, breast cancer signs awareness, alcohol use and support to quit smoking.

The council also used the national Mental Health Awareness Week to highlight initiatives and useful resources available to staff.

A further 17 staff have been trained as mental health first aiders to provide key support and intervention. The council has also developed an internal web page which provides important information on the health topics identified by staff as being important to them and to ensure information is continuously available to signpost them to support which is on offer both within and outside the council.

To actively promote better health across the organisation the council supported a step challenge where staff could compete in teams during November. Chair yoga sessions also proved to be popular with staff and they were backed up with chairobics video sessions for those who could not attend in person.

The most popular activity has been the monthly step challenge in which a large number of staff formed different teams for some fun competition. It was won by a five-person team for the council’s financial services department, who all received a small trophy for their collective efforts of 2,027,002 steps.

All the teams who entered amassed 11,353,925 steps in total, or 4,585 miles. The next step challenge is already under way.