Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street has visited a Birmingham school to find out how teachers’ mental health and wellbeing have been boosted by a free workplace scheme.
Thrive at Work is the West Midlands Combined Authority’s (WMCA) wellbeing programme which has signed up more than 400 organisations across the West Midlands and beyond. As Covid puts new pressures on the workplace the scheme aims to help bosses support their employees’ mental health which may be affected by the current situation.
Teachers at Acocks Green Primary School met with the Mayor this week and gave him a tour of their wellbeing hub which is used for a variety of activities to promote good mental health among staff, parents and the local people. The tour came ahead of World Mental Health Day which is on Saturday 10 October.
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands practises yoga with pupils from Acocks Green Primary School (l-r Brooke Hall, Chloe Thomas, Hamza Shaikh )
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “Good mental has a role to play in the recovery of the West Midlands, so it has never been more important that employers think of the wellbeing of their employees.
“In the current climate people have many worries such as their health, their loved ones, and their employment situation. Thrive at Work can help address these and other issues to support our region’s workforce.”
Because of their participation in Thrive at Work the school has introduced healthy lifestyle support for staff such as nutritional advice, mental wellbeing guidance and exercise classes. They also provide opportunities for staff to openly discuss issues affecting them.
By keeping staff healthy and retaining employees the school has had less need for agency staff allowing it to operate more efficiently and have an attendance record of almost 100%.
Their involvement in Thrive at Work has also inspired them to look much wider than staff and into their community and they now run practical health and wellbeing session for parents.
Deputy headteacher Philippa Liversidge said: “We are looking at more physical movement opportunities, and we’ve trained staff who work in the office about how they posture themselves and provide them with ‘chairobics’ which was recommended by the Thrive team.
“We have also set up a 'The Daily Mile' ™ to walk along to keep active and some parents have even walked it as they wait to pick up their children, which shows Thrive at Work here is not just a workplace project but also a community project.
“We hope others will take up this programme; anybody thinking of taking up Thrive at Work will be supported, and I recommend it.”
Cllr Izzi Seccombe WMCA portfolio lead for wellbeing and leader of Warwickshire County Council said: “The benefits to staff and local community experienced by Acocks Green Primary School illustrate the effectiveness of Thrive at Work.
“In the current climate I hope more organisations big or small, private or public sector, seriously consider signing up to Thrive at Work so their employees can also benefit.”
The visit follows last month’s launch of a new Foundation Level First Steps which takes just 90 days to complete aimed at organisations with employees of eight or more. It is designed to improve existing areas of businesses such as health and safety and manager training, in addition to health areas such as mental, musculoskeletal and physical health, and promotion of healthy lifestyles.