Innovation Fund launched to develop “mental health workplace best practice”
Suffolk’s second Improving Workplace Health programme has received a boost with the news that a £100k fund has been approved to help local companies at the cutting edge of good mental health practice share their learning with others.
The Innovation Fund is open to voluntary and community sector and public sector organisations to deliver interventions that will support wellbeing at work.
The initiative, building on a successful 2019 pilot, aimed at monitoring and improving mental health outcomes across the county’s 30,000-plus businesses and celebrating and sharing best practice was launched earlier in the summer by an alliance of business leaders and public health professionals.
Suffolk Chamber of Commerce teamed up with Suffolk County Council’s Public Health & Communities team and Suffolk Mind to deliver the year-long research, communications and information-sharing campaign and showcasing good practice by encouraging employers to sign up to the county’s Healthy Workplace Award.
The initial wave of research incorporated an online survey, a focus group and online discussions which highlight three key issues facing the county’s workplaces:
- The need for more support to line managers to both address their own mental health issues and to better support their staff, not least as increasing numbers only occasionally engage with them in person due to the use of virtual working technologies
- The need for more intense interventions in those sectors where mental health and wellbeing indices show the greatest levels of stress, including construction, hospitality and manual work
- The opportunity to work with ‘exemplar’ companies who are showing significant leadership in mental health and wellbeing practices to bets share these with others, including their business customers and those in their supply chains
Successful applicants have the opportunity to support and work with Suffolk companies who meet any of the above criteria. However, it is not open to bids from organisations who want to directly buy in workplace wellbeing support.
The new Innovation Fund aims to support a range of partners to develop best practice toolkits to address these three issues, plus helping to alleviate pressures linked to the current cost of living crisis, which frequently impact on the workplace.
This could include the delivery of any of the following:
- Training - Activity that focuses on managers being able to have and encourage meaningful supportive discussions with staff regarding mental health and wellbeing
- Cost of Living – Projects and work that assist employees and their families to access support to reduce the associated impact on mental health and wellbeing
- Policies and Practice – Projects to support smaller businesses develop mental health and wellbeing policies and good practice within their own scope of work
- Targeted Support – Projects that aim to improve mental health and wellbeing across sectors of work where there has been a greater impact of Covid 19 e.g., construction industry, hospitality, routine and manual work
Cllr Andrew Reid, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for public health and public protection said: “The initial research from the Improving Workplace Health programme was unequivocal. That’s why I’m delighted that this £100k fund has been made available to bring together experts in these fields to come together to help particularly hard-pressed staff, management teams and sectors.”
Paul Simon, Suffolk Chamber’s head of public affairs & strategic communications, added: “this announcement shows the real intent behind all the partners involved in the Improving Workplace Health to deliver on our promise to make Suffolk the best place to work in the country.”
The Improving Workplace Health Programme is overseen by the Best Health and Work Partnership which reports into the Suffolk Health & Wellbeing board.
For more information, and to apply to the innovation fund, visit www.suffolk.gov.uk/public-mental-health-fund
Organisations interested in applying for an Innovation Fund are asked to contact email@example.com. The deadline for submissions is 5pm on Friday 7 October 2022.
For further information: https://www.suffolkchamber.co.uk/representing-you/initiatives-campaigns/improving-workplace-health/
To find out more about the Healthy Workplace Award accreditation, visit www.healthyworkplaceaward.org.uk