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University Commitment to Health and Wellbeing Recognised by Award Nomination

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The University of Worcester has been nominated for a top local award in recognition of its promotion of health and wellbeing among its workforce.

The University has been shortlisted alongside three local businesses in the Commitment to Supporting Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace category of the 2014 Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce Business Awards.

The awards honour local organisations in eleven various categories, with the winners to be announced on July 10 at a ceremony at Bank House.

Louise Jones, Strategic Director for Health and Wellbeing at the University, says: “I am delighted we have been shortlisted for this award, as it reflects the realisation of the University’s commitment within its strategic plan to health and wellbeing.”

An employer of around 900 staff, the University identified Human Health and Wellbeing as one of four key areas of distinction in its most recent Strategic Plan. Acknowledging the fact that the University’s most important resource is its staff, the plan includes a commitment to providing a ‘working environment in which people are included and respected and where health and wellbeing are assured’.

In recent years, a Fit for Life initiative has been developed, a Health and Wellbeing Task Group set up and, having gained level one accreditation, the University is currently working towards its Worcestershire Works Well level two status.

From September 2013, the University made all campuses smoke free except for a single, designated smoking area on each of the St John’s and City Campuses. Increased physical activity among staff was also promoted with the revitalisation of the University Mile and the launch of the Around the World in 80 Days initiative.

This project – launched in February 2014 – challenged the University community to log 24,902 miles, the distance around the equatorial circumference of the Earth, using any physical means possible. The target was reached on Day 64 of the challenge and the eventual total exceeded the initial target by 71% (pictured).

Last October also saw the University’s tenth anniversary of hosting an event to mark World Mental Health Day, which saw promotional materials available on campus and members of the University community wear blue ribbons in support of the cause.

Louise Jones continues: “Health and Wellbeing is embedded in to the fabric of the University and its policies and procedures. Staff development is recognised by the University as being of great importance, and there is an excellent programme which runs across the year for staff to access.

“This includes leadership and coaching, training in mental health first aid and also sessions for managers in dealing with team members with mental health issues. Mindfulness sessions are run as part of staff development and a meditation maze has been created for use during the assessment period, when staff can often feel increased work pressure.”

The three other organisations shortlisted for the award are CH2M Hill United Kingdom, Southco Manufacturing Ltd and Titania Ltd.