A revolutionary new initiative that will support businesses across Lancashire in improving the health and wellbeing of their employees has launched today, Monday 13th September.

Supported by Lancashire Mind and a number of local and national delivery partners, the Active Lancashire led programme has brought together the expertise of specialists at the University of Central Lancashire, ukactive and Lancashire Mind to deliver a tailored and affordable workplace health offer to Lancashire-based SMEs. As a result of this 3-year programme, employees across the county will be empowered to take ownership and improve their own health and wellbeing, whilst businesses will benefit from a healthier, happier and more resilient workforce.

In response to the increased levels of poor health within Lancashire’s workforce, the programme offers two main services to businesses in the form of the ESF-funded Workplace Health Champion Training and the government-backed Workplace Health Screenings service. The free training includes basic skills (Mathematics, English and ESOL) and a Level 2 and Level 3 NCFE-accredited qualification for those individuals who wish to drive change in their organisations and create a network of health ambassadors across the county. The screenings, focused on employees aged 50+, combine a physical health assessment and mental health element to produce a unique tool for employees to learn more about their own health and take positive steps to improve it.

The programme has undertaken a robust training and pilot phase over the last 12 months, where staff from leisure trusts and local authorities have undergone extensive training to deliver both the Workplace Health Champion Training and the Workplace Health Screening service. Today’s launch signals the start of the delivery of this exciting programme which will aim to train 5,000 Workplace Health Champions and conduct over 15,000 health screenings in the workplace, over the next 3 years.

Adrian Leather, Chief Executive at Active Lancashire, explained: “Speaking to Lancashire businesses and business leaders, I repeatedly hear about the loss of staff due to sickness and poor attendance at work; some of it due to the pandemic, much of it due to long term health conditions. Today’s launch of Business Health Matters creates a significant opportunity to increase the competitiveness of our 53,000 businesses and the productivity of our 650,000 workers in Lancashire. The research shows that by improving the mental and physical health of employees in Lancashire, we can reduce rate of sickness absence in the county and increase those retained in employment. By bringing these levels in line with national averages, the economy in Lancashire would grow by £3Bn per year.”

“Thanks to the hard work of our dedicated delivery partners and our team, I am very confident Business Health Matters will drive tangible change within businesses and improve productivity, staff satisfaction and retention for years to come.”

Tommy McIlravey, CEO of Lancashire Mind, added: “The last 12 months have been challenging for many and the changing work landscape means that the mental health and wellbeing of staff is even more vital. The Business Health Matters project will help companies develop a strategy to position them as a forward-thinking employer and demonstrate they have the best interests of their staff at heart.

“Openly discussing and supporting mental health in the workplace can boost staff morale and productivity by stopping issues from escalating, helping you to keep highly skilled and valuable members of staff in the workplace. Prioritising workplace wellbeing and recognising both physical and mental health as equally important, is not only the right thing to do, it also makes good business sense.”

Combining £5million investment from the European Social Fund and £3million from the UKRI’s healthy ageing challenge, the launch of the programme is a landmark moment for Lancashire with a huge potential to benefit Lancashire’s economy and ease the strain on the county’s health services, with support from a range of partners including Lancashire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Chambers of Commerce, Sport England and Lancashire County Council. Businesses can now learn more about the programme via our website here, with a video to explain the services on offer available via our website and social media channels. Employers interested in participating in one or both of the services are encouraged to register on our website.

For further information on the programme, please email [email protected] or call 01772 299830.

About Active Lancashire - Active Lancashire was founded in 2000 and incorporated as a company limited by guarantee in 2009. Originally named Lancashire Sport Partnership, the not-for-profit organisation has evolved over the years and now employs over 50 members of staff who connect with more than 100 partners across a variety of sectors.

As the strategic lead for sport and physical activity across the county, locally Active Lancashire connect with like-minded organisations to help bring about active lifestyles and nationally they represent one of the many Sport England-led Active Partnerships that drive a sports delivery system across the country.

They believe that sport and physical activity have the power to influence behaviours and develop skills which can have a broader, positive impact on people’s lives.

Their work in leading and facilitating effective partnerships across the county from key influential decision makers, through to community grass roots organisations aims to encourage Lancashire residents to engage in sport and physical activity and lead a happy, healthy, more prosperous life. For more information please visit: www.activelancashire.org.uk

About Lancashire Mind - Lancashire Mind was created when Chorley, South Ribble & Blackburn Mind joined with Blackpool Mind in 2011. They are based in Chorley and work across the county of Lancashire delivering a range of projects and initiatives in the community, in schools and in workplaces.

They work in partnership with other organisations and campaign locally to make your mental wellbeing a priority. They believe that people experiencing a mental health condition can play an equal and active role in society and that negative perceptions of mental health should be challenged. https://www.lancashiremind.org.uk

European Social Fund - The programme has received £5,190,909.08 of funding from the European Social Fund as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England. The Department for Work and Pensions (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for the England European Social Fund programme.

Established by the European Union, the European Social Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support skills development, employment and job creation, social inclusion and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.

UK Research and Innovation works in partnership with universities, research organisations, businesses, charities, and government to create the best possible environment for research and innovation to flourish. We aim to maximise the contribution of each of our component parts, working individually and collectively. We work with our many partners to benefit everyone through knowledge, talent and ideas.

Operating across the whole of the UK with a combined budget of more than £7 billion, UK Research and Innovation brings together the seven research councils, Innovate UK and Research England. www.ukri.org

Lancashire Mind is a company limited by guarantee (company number 3888655) and a registered charity in England and Wales (registered number 1081427) at 80-82 Devonshire Road, Chorley, Lancs, PR7 2DR. Lancashire Mind are registered with the Fundraising Regulator. For all enquiries, call us on 01257 231660.
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