Suffolk firms hear importance of having the right ingredients for a healthy workplace

Suffolk firms hear importance of having the right ingredients for a healthy workplace

10 Apr 2012

Over 60 businesses based in Suffolk have come together to address health issues in the workplace that the Chief Executive of the voice of business in the county has said if not addressed could be a ‘financial burden’ for the local economy.

2012 is the Year of Health in the Workplace and was the issue being looked at by businesses who met at Ickworth House recently. They heard from Claire Parker, Business Coordinator of Healthy Ambitions Suffolk who launched their health and wellbeing programme, offering businesses the opportunity to improve workplace health and be rewarded for their hard work.

“Whether it’s for a minor cold or a more complex, long-term issue, absenteeism has always been a challenge for business,” said John Dugmore, the Chief Executive of the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce.  “While being unwell is all part and part of life, there are things that can be addressed by employers and employees in the knowledge that if not dealt with there could be a huge financial burden.”

Suffolk Chamber of Commerce has appointed 2012 as its year of Health in the Workplace and works closely with Health Ambitions Suffolk.

“Keeping your workforce healthy makes sound business sense,” Claire Parker told the businesses in attendance. “By supporting and encouraging your staff to live a healthy lifestyle, you’ll increase productivity and reduce sickness absence, in turn making your business more profitable.”

“The environment we work in influences our health choices and can be a force for improving health, both for individuals and the communities in which they live. It can boost an individual’s confidence and self-esteem while offering structure and companionship.”

Business also heard that one of the main aspects of achieving a healthier lifestyle is eating healthy food. Delegates at Ickworth House heard from Oliver and Robert Paul, founders of Suffolk Food Hall.

They shared their experiences of frustration with the limited access to locally produced healthy food. Suffolk Food Hall was therefore set up in Ipswich in 2007, offering locally-produced food with the convenience of a major retailer.

Now boasting a butchery, café, fishmonger, delicatessen and garden centre, the  company recently won a prestigious ‘Rural Oscar’ in the national Countryside Alliance Awards which took placeat a special reception at Parliament.

The cousins celebrated their achievements at the Chamber lunch, as well as sharing their tips on how to build a successful business in Suffolk those ties in with promoting a healthier lifestyle.

“As Suffolk farmers, we were frustrated that our friends often had limited access to much of the fantastic food produced locally,” Oliver said.   “Spurred into action by this opportunity, the concept of a showcase for quality local food with provenance took shape and the Suffolk Food Hall collaboration was born.”

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