South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has been recognised at national level for inspiring a healthier, fitter workforce.
NHS Chief Executive David Nicholson challenged the NHS to use the inspirational power of the Olympics to get NHS employees actively engaged in sport or physical activity as part of, or associated with, their NHS employment.
South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which provides mental health, learning disability and community services across Barnsley, Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield, has been awarded Silver accreditation in the NHS Sport & Physical Activity Challenge for its efforts to engage and involve employees in improving their health and wellbeing.
Marie Conway, health improvement manager, said, "To achieve silver accreditation, the Trust had to engage up to 15% of our staff – around 700 people – in physical activities. As part of the challenge and our ongoing commitment to improving health and wellbeing for employees, we have established a range of initiatives to encourage physical activity.
"Our cycle to work scheme is consistently popular, with 85 employees having already taken advantage of the savings available on a new bike through the scheme since it began around 18 months ago.
"The ‘Good Mood’ football league, established across the Trust for staff and service users, regularly attracts up to 12 teams at community events."
There are also area-specific activities being developed for Trust employees.
In Barnsley, a cricket tournament for staff and service users is held to mark World Mental Health Day each year. Jane Baker, of Barnsley’s Physical Activity Development Team, attended last year’s match. "Six teams took part, using Kwik cricket rules to enable people of all abilities to join in. The cricket tournament encourages staff and service users to come together to play in an equal and empowering environment.
"We hope to hold both football and cricket tournaments this year, whilst future plans include competitions for different sports such as netball and volleyball.”
In Calderdale, Bodytone and Zumba sessions are held each week on site, free of charge. Staff also set their own physical activity goals at Healthy Weight sessions.
Steve Amos, health and safety advisor for the Trust, said, "The healthy weight programme has supported me to be more active: I now regularly undertake a variety of activities which I would never have considered before. Having the sessions at work makes the healthy weight programme and physical activity sessions really easy to access, which has helped me to keep up momentum."
In Wakefield, a programme of Nordic Walking was set up, and the Trust is currently exploring further options for staff exercise sessions after work. Maggie Bell, assistant director of human resources, said, "Having the opportunity to undertake exercise at the end of the working day helps us to unwind and have fun. It’s also a great opportunity to get to know people better from the wider team".
South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust received its Silver accreditation from David Nicholson at an event in London.
Marie Conway said, "A fit and healthy workforce is essential in order to be able to offer high quality services to the people we care for, as well as raising morale and self esteem amongst staff. We are delighted to have our achievements acknowledged at a national level."