Standing ovation at Swindon Mindful Employer conference

By Anita Jaynes on 16 November, 2014

The Swindon Mindful Employer Network is celebrating the success of its 2014 conference held at Nationwide House on 6 November.  100 business leaders and employer representatives attended the event which was supported by Nationwide Building Society and Baxter Storey. The Business Exchange Swindon & Wiltshire was also a media partner for the event.

Among the guest speakers were Dr Sabir Giga of Lancaster University who spoke about ‘presenteeism’ and City of London businesswoman Fiona Bowman who found success after experiencing years of domestic abuse. Fiona received a standing ovation from the appreciative Swindon audience at the end of her talk.  She commented: “As a speaker I was privileged to be part of a brilliantly constructed programme with powerful messages being received by a respectful, receptive audience who represent a wide cross section of Corporate, NGO and Public Sector organisations in the Swindon area. Clearly the difficult issue of how employers recognise and react to Mental Health issues in the workplace is being addressed “head on” by this ground breaking group. A centre of excellence which will continue to make a significant difference. Well organised and well attended.”

Swindon born Mark Harper MP, Minister of State for Disabled People, spoke and answered  questions on issues relating to mental health, disability and employment. He added: “People with mental health conditions can and want to work. I want to work with employers to ensure that we all understand how to provide the right support that enables people to stay in or return to work.

“I was pleased to see the important work of the Swindon Mindful Employer Network in helping break down misconceptions and improve knowledge amongst local employers about mental health matters.”

Heart FM News Editor Cormac MacMahon hosted an interview session with Adrian Embling of Mindset Wessex, Geoff Windle of Lift Psychology and network Chair Melanie Richens.  There was also a contribution from Mike Godfrey who chairs both The Swindon Initiative at Business West and the Swindon Employment and Skills Advisory Board.

Rosemarie Matthews of Baxter Storey presented Melanie Richens with a anniversary cake celebrating 10 years of Mindful Employer in the UK.

The executive sponsor of Nationwide’s Disability Network, Julia Dunn commented: “As keen supporters of the Swindon Mindful Employer Network we are delighted that we were able to host this interesting and well-attended event. Supporting the wellbeing of our people and raising awareness of disability among our employees is very important to us as a responsible employer and we will do everything we can to ensure this continues to happen.”

Melanie Richens, who Chairs the Swindon Mindful Employer Network, believes the 2014 conference was the best yet: “The network just goes from strength to strength and this was quite a remarkable conference.  Great speakers, professional support from Nationwide and Baxter Storey and a standing ovation – this has to be a significant highlight of this initiative so far”.

The Swindon Mindful Employer Network is managed by Richmond Fellowship and funded by Public Health at Swindon Borough Council.

To find out more about the network email: