Mental health and wellbeing is now a hot topic in the local business community, thanks to the growing demand and reputation of the Swindon Mindful Employer Network. Even with more optimistic news on the economy in recent months, organisers behind the network are still seeing an increase in attendance at their events – concluding that mental health and well-being remains a top priority for Swindon firms.
Melanie Richens who is the independent volunteer Chair of the growing network feels that the issues of well-being and the association with business performance is catching the attention of many employers in the town. “I am constantly surprised by the interest in this initiative. We used to get over 100 delegates at our annual conferences – now it is not uncommon to get that number at our regular meetings. It seems to me that regardless of which way the economy is heading – mental health and wellbeing policies are becoming entrenched in the management culture of very many employers locally. This is great news for employees, business success and the positive reputation of the town moving forward.”
The network has produced some memorable events and awareness sessions since its formation in February 2008. Topics involving issues on managing stress, bereavement, asperger syndrome, employee engagement and absenteeism are among the many issues addressed at regular free meetings – which affords the opportunity for local businesses of various sectors and sizes to share experience and best practice. With generous support, the network meets at top class venues such as the Swindon Marriott, Jurys Inn Swindon and Nationwide House and is now viewed as one of the largest active business groups in Swindon.
David Latham, who manages the initiative at Swindon Mind, believes the reputation and profile of the network is expanding as regular attendees recommend the group to their colleagues and business contacts.
“Quite a variety of people with different backgrounds and skills are attracted by the sessions we stage. These include managers and business owners, HR and occupational health professionals, decision-makers and local influencers.”
Whilst consulting employers actively involved in the initiative, the project team are planning some exciting themed events over the next few years which they believe will appeal to both regular participants and potential new attendees from Swindon business.
“This has been a story of success – but we are not the sort of people to rest on our laurels” says Melanie.
SWINDON MINDFUL EMPLOYER NETWORK
Building Healthier Businesses for Swindon
Leadership – Resilience – Wellbeing