A focus on health

Vicki2I wanted to focus my Blog this month on the work Groundwork is doing on health and wellbeing.

I think it’s really important that as a local organisation working with local people we demonstrate leadership. As a Trust we are seeking to attain the Workplace Wellbeing Charter showing our commitment to the health of the people who work for the Trust. We know that we already have a number of things in place but we are busy identifying what gaps there may be in the health, safety and wellbeing of our employees. Here are just a few of the things we have been progressing as s Trust:

  • Earlier this month I attended to Oldham Business Leadership Group Breakfast briefing on its Active Workforce Pilot Programme and have proposed that Groundwork is part of the pilot programme due to start shortly.
  • Last week, our Work Programme Team participated in Rochdale’s Health Chats Training delivered by the Health Trainers from The Big Life Group.
  • Last week, I met Fiona Brigg from Link4Life who is leading on Rochdale’s Healthy Workplace Strategy to discuss the action plan we are developing as a Trust to achieve the charter. I will be attending the Rochdale launch event on the 10th November

We are always keen to learn from others and towards the end of the summer, we welcomed John Schofield and Michael McCourt, Chair and Chief Executive of Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust who spent half a day visiting some of the many programmes the Trust deliver which focus on improving health and wellbeing. We spent some time looking at the difference our Back on Track programme is making across Rochdale with some of our work programme customers. We agreed that welfare to work programmes of the future need a coherent approach including health and wellbeing intervention.

Our Back on Track project is one of 3 projects funded by NHS Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale Clinical Commissioning Group (HMR CCG). On Wednesday the 8th October I had the opportunity to attend a celebration event at Rochdale Town Hall. The event was organised by Multi Cultural Arts & Media Centre (MAMC) to celebrate the achievements of over 90 health projects funded by NHS HMR CCG’s social investment fund.

Edible Neighbourhoods is helping residents grow their own food on a range of community food growing sites. Our Back on Track programme is helping residents on long term sickness benefits overcome barriers and compete in the labour market. Growing for Communities is a gardening project focussed on helping older residents get outside and active in the gardens of their sheltered accommodation.

At the event it was good to see so many third sector partners playing an important role in delivering improvements to health and wellbeing within the borough. Health delivery partners are starting to see the role that organisations like Groundwork can play – given we reach a broad range of community groups and areas that they often struggle to engage. It is for this reason that we have been successful in being awarded the contract to deliver Oldham’s Growing Ambassadors programme from January onwards.

For the event in Rochdale we prepared three videos – one for each of the SIF projects we’re delivering. Please take a look at these videos below and get a flavour of how these projects are changing lives across the Rochdale borough.

On Wednesday 15th October I had the pleasure of visiting our team at the Wood Street office in Middleton town centre. With support from UK online centres, Groundwork is running a series of health and wellbeing events for our beneficiaries and members of the public. On the day they had organised a community health event to coincide with Get Online Week 2014.

2014-10-15 12.32.45a

At the October event we had over 50 visitors and support from partners including Big Life (Health Trainers), Link for Life, Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust and our very own Sam Powers who ran healthy cook and taste sessions. I also got the chance to speak to one of the volunteers who supports our Skills for Jobs team in Middleton. It was heart-warming to hear of his story how through participating in our programme and then continuing as a volunteer, he now feels more confident and for the first time in many years he is now thinking of getting in to work. It’s the small steps he has taken with support that has helped him move from where he was six months ago to where he is now.

If you would like to know more about what we are doing as an organisation to improve the health of our employees as well as the health of the people we’re supporting please do get in touch.

Vicki Devonport, Executive Director

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