Juliette Burton and Cllr Jane Hyldon King helped lift the lid on mental health issues at public event in Grimsby
On Thursday 1st February 2018, in partnership with the charity ‘Time to Change’, we were at Grimsby Riverhead with well-known comedian Juliette Burton to raise awareness around mental health.
Time to Change started a movement to bring mental health issues to the forefront of today’s society by highlighting the importance of sharing and communicating our issues and not being afraid to ask for support from those around us.
The public event was held at Riverhead in Grimsby where comedian Juliette Burton opened up about her own experiences with mental health and answered questions. Staff from Volunteer Action North East Lincolnshire and NAViGO gave a helping hand to offer information, signposting and advice.
As a further sign of commitment to our employees Michelle Hargreaves, Managing Director at Stagecoach East Midlands signed a ‘Time to Change’ pledge at Grimsby depot with Councilor Jane Hyldon King, portfolio holder for Health, Wellbeing & Adult Social Care at North East Lincolnshire Council, in attendance.
The involvement in the ‘Time to Change’ scheme is yet another step in our project to provide our workforce with the tools, information and access to support healthy lifestyle choices.
Managing Director Michelle Hargreaves said: “We were keen to work with Time to Change and become part of their efforts to lift the lid on mental health issues, and we’re delighted to be teaming up with Juliette. After introducing the health and well-being initiative in 2016 we want to keep up the momentum, providing new ways to support the welfare of our employees.
“Unfortunately mental health issues can still be a taboo subject which is why we were keen to extend the events beyond just our own people to the wider public. Effecting change and giving back to the wider community was the main driver behind our reasons for getting behind this event, and, if this event in any way encourages people to talk then it has been a success.
Councilor Jane Hyldon King, Portfolio Holder for Health, Wellbeing & Adult Social Care at North East Lincolnshire Council said: “I am extremely supportive of the work being undertaken by Stagecoach East Midlands and delighted to be attending the signing of the Time to Change pledge.”
“Michelle Hargreaves and her team have focused on the health and well being of their staff through a number of engaging initiatives that they have now extended to the public.”
“Understanding and communicating with your work force should be a priority for employers across the UK, I am pleased to see that Stagecoach are forging a path and setting a standard for companies who recognise the importance of investing in their staff.”
Bootcamps, exercise bikes and free fruit are among an array of health-boosting initiatives introduced by Stagecoach East Midlands to aid the wellbeing of employees.
At the end of 2016, Michelle Hargreaves and Helen Smith spearheaded a project - one of the first of its kind in the transport sector - to help improve the wellbeing of staff by creating a Health and Wellbeing committee to develop health-improving ideas.
In a job where, even in the office, some staff are sedentary for up to five and a half hours a day, Michelle and Helen recognised the importance of equipping colleagues with the tools and knowledge for a healthy lifestyle.
The Biggest Loser competition was launched at the beginning of January 2017 across all Stagecoach East Midland depots. Through the year, 83st 4lb and 5oz was lost by employees. A weekly weigh-in was introduced and staff were encouraged to follow a healthy lifestyle to become the ‘Biggest Loser’.
For losing over 17st 6lb 12oz between them, the team at the Skegness depot proved victorious. They were awarded a cheque for £500 to present to their nominated charities - £250 to MacMillan Cancer Support and £250 to the British Heart Foundation. The biggest loser overall was Liz Grocock from the Lincoln Depot, who lost 2st 4lbs. She won annual membership to her local gym.
Various initiatives have taken place through the year. Free fruit is delivered every Monday to all depots. This has been so successful that some depots have introduced free fruit on other days. Healthy meal ingredients and menus are now being delivered to depots every week.
Employees were also able to take part in bootcamps, ride exercise bikes that powered smoothie makers, and given cooking equipment to make quick and healthy meals at work.
All 1,300 staff members were encouraged to take part in the Pedometer Step Challenge, including office-based workers, managers, engineers and bus drivers. Participants were given a pedometer to track their daily steps.
Winners were announced from each of the Stagecoach locations, with eleven winners completing a total of 5,299,563 steps between them. The overall winner, Steve Robinson from the Grimsby depot, also won £500 for his depot’s chosen charity - St Andrew's Hospice.
Managing Director Michelle Hargreaves said “With our workforce in a position where they are often sat down for long periods of time, we created an initiative that was fun, good for staff, increased morale and productivity across the workplace, and helped build and improve working relationships within the depots.
“We are dedicated to becoming the employer of choice in the East Midlands and part of that is about the wellbeing of employees. The programme promotes maintaining physical and mental health, as well as keeping the workforce motivated, engaged and healthy. In just a year, the project has become part of our ethos - to work with and listen to staff and offer them the support to maintain an active, healthy lifestyle.”
Stagecoach is also partnering with health-related charities to hand out advice and information.
Health Engagement Days have been taking place at depots including Hull, Scunthorpe, Grimsby and Lincoln. The events include free health checks, healthy breakfast and lunch options and recipe books. Staff are also given 1 to 1 and drop in sessions as well insulated lunch bags, mugs, leaflets from the Public Health England Campaign ‘One You’ and information from Cancer Research regarding Bowel Cancer.
Hull depot now hold a weekly 1 to 1 sessions including weigh ins and nutrition advice to employees with help from Able Health. This service also includes over 40's Health Checks through NHS, and referrals will be given if there are any concerns.
The efforts made by Michelle Hargreaves and Helen Smith recognised this year at the annual Stagecoach Group Champions Awards when they won Gold in the Health Champion Award.
The awards – now in their eighth year – recognise excellence over six areas including Safety, Health, Community, Customer Service, Environment and Innovation.
A huge proud well done to Michelle and Helen for their award and for their continued work in improving the lives of their employees