The Active Lancashire led initiative is the first of its kind in the country and aims to improve employee health and wellbeing in Lancashire-based SMEs via two innovative projects.
The ‘Workplace Health Screening’ project will upskill gym and leisure centre staff to conduct physical and mental health screenings in workplaces across the county, with a focus on employees aged 50+ in SMEs. Aiming to deliver more than 15,000 screenings over the next three years, the unique screening tool has been developed by specialists at the University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLan) School of Medicine and Lancashire Mind. The initiative recently received a £3million funding boost from the UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) healthy ageing challenge fund.
The second project, the ‘Workplace Health Champions’ initiative, is funded by the European Social Fund and empowers employees across the county to drive change within their organisations by offering Level 2 and Level 3 Workplace Health Champion Training qualifications. The NCFE-accredited courses, which also includes basic skills training in English, Mathematics and IT, will aim to upskill 5,000 employees across Lancashire and create a community of health ambassadors who will champion health and wellbeing in the workplace.
The programme will enter a pilot phase over the summer ahead of welcoming businesses onto both projects from September, with SMEs invited to register their interest here. As part of the launch, a brand new Business Health Matters website will be unveiled, along with a wealth of information on how organisations can benefit from each of the projects and the support on offer from the programme’s delivery partners.
Adrian Leather, Chief Executive at Active Lancashire, explained: “Poor health is responsible for £650million of lost productivity in Lancashire and Business Health Matters has been developed to tackle this huge issue. The programme represents over two years of research, learning and hard work, so we are delighted that we are in a position to announce its launch later this year. It is a huge step forward in improving the health and wellbeing of employees and aiding the county’s economic recovery following the pandemic.
“Not only is the programme truly unique in combining both physical and mental health elements across the two main projects, but with the support of our partners and leading experts, the programme will establish a legacy for businesses that will increase productivity and assist in reducing long-term costs associated with poor health. Every business that engages with the programme will be offered a range of supportive interventions for employees, based on the outcomes of their screenings, and these will provide practical tools and guidance for employees to improve their overall health for years to come.”
The Business Health Matters programme is supported by the Chambers of Commerce and 20 local and national partners, including Active Lancashire, The Lancashire Colleges, Lancashire Mind, UCLan and ukactive. A number of local authorities and leisure trusts in Lancashire are also partnering with Active Lancashire on the programme, as their dedicated Business Health Matters staff deliver screenings and interventions in workplaces across the county, alongside a team of qualified Workplace Health Champion tutors.
Businesses interested in the programme are encouraged to register with their interest here. For further information on the programme, please visit www.businesshealthmatters.org.uk or email [email protected].