County’s workplace health programme launches
UCLan’s School of Medicine has developed the screening tool for Business Health Matters
A revolutionary new initiative that will support businesses across Lancashire in improving the health and wellbeing of their employees has launched.
The Active Lancashire led Business Health Matters programme has brought together the expertise of specialists at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), ukactive and Lancashire Mind to deliver a tailored and affordable workplace health offer to Lancashire-based SMEs.
As a result of this three-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.
"This 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"— Adrian Leather, Chief Executive at Active Lancashire
The screening tool and associated training programme have been developed by specialists from the UCLan’s School of Medicine and are consistent with the approach used in NHS medical practices to identify conditions that can lead to poor health in later life.
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. The launch signals the start of the delivery of this exciting programme which will aim to train 5,000 Workplace Health Champions and conduct more than 15,000 health screenings in the workplace, over the next three 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.
"This 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.”
"Our newly developed training tools are enabling leisure professionals to upskill themselves and are offering a vital work-based resource which will help ease the burden on our already stretched NHS"— Professor StJohn Crean, UCLan’s Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise)
Professor StJohn Crean, UCLan’s Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise), said: “This project will improve the mental and physical wellbeing of thousands of employees within Lancashire, contributing to the region’s economic prosperity and working towards achieving the levelling up agenda. Our newly developed training tools are enabling leisure professionals to upskill themselves and are offering a vital work-based resource which will help ease the burden on our already stretched NHS.”
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 Business Health Matters or call 01772 299830.