Wilton Centre backs drive to improve health in the workplace
Photo shows (L- R): Eva Forte, SHE Manager/Process Engineer of AkzoNobel, Keith Thompson, Wilton Centre’s Safety Health and Environment Advisor, Sean Wentworth, Catering Manager from Taylor Shaw, Dave Brown SHE Manager of DuPont Teijin Films and Roz Elms, Health Improvement Specialist (Workplace Lead) of Redcar & Cleveland PCT in the Centre’s catering area.
One of the Tees Valley’s leading locations for business and research and development is aiming to become a happier, healthier place to work.
The Wilton Centre, which is situated outside Middlesbrough between the Wilton International site and the picturesque Cleveland Hills, has teamed up with Redcar & Cleveland Primary Care Trust to take part in a scheme that gives recognition to workplaces that actively promote health activities.
The North East Better Health at Work Award, which launches in January 2009, is aimed at encouraging employers and employees to take steps to help improve their health and well being in the workplace setting.
The team that runs the Wilton Centre complex, Wilton Centre Facilities Management (WCFM), has been involved with healthy workplace initiatives for the past couple of years.
Keith Thompson, WCFM’s Safety Health and Environment Advisor, said that the Centre recognised that in his area of responsibility more emphasis was put on safety and environment than on health.
“We decided to redress the balance by introducing a number of health-related activities,” he added. “After joining forces with the PCT team on the ‘How healthy is your business?’ scheme in 2006 we ran a series of stress awareness training sessions for staff which were followed by some healthy eating presentations and a blood pressure checking roadshow.”
Keith commented: “With the activities we already have in place we are well on the way to achieving a Bronze Award, which is the first level of the new scheme.
“We now also have an incentive to aim for the silver and gold awards.”
Over 40 companies work at the Wilton Centre, which is set in a 75 acre landscaped park with its own lake and courtyards and provides a range of office, laboratory and pilot plant accommodation.
Following a presentation on the new health awards scheme some of the Centre’s tenants have also signed up to the scheme.
Eva Forte, SHE Manager/Process Engineer of AkzoNobel commented that: “We think that this is a good opportunity for us to contribute to the ‘health’ part of SHE which is often overlooked. A healthy body equals a healthy mind.”
Dave Brown SHE Manager of DuPont Teijin Films added: “DTF are keen to participate in the scheme and see it as a way to benefit both employees and the business. We are pleased to be working with WCFM, who have been pivotal in facilitating the Healthy Businesses Awards initiative in the Centre.”
Roz Elms, Health Improvement Specialist (Workplace Lead) of Redcar & Cleveland PCT who is coordinating the initiative said: “Workplace health is one of the fastest growing areas for improvement initiatives and for all those involved it is a win-win situation.
“The benefits to the employer may include reduced sickness absence rates, increased productivity and a more motivated workforce. There may also be a potential for reduced insurance premiums for healthy workplaces.
“Employees benefit by having access to practical support to improve their health, improved working conditions and improved morale and motivation.”
Roz added: “I am extremely pleased that the Wilton Centre has become one of the first employers within this locality to sign up to the new North East Better Health at Work Award.
“I have worked with them on other health promotion schemes for two years now and they participate enthusiastically and are constantly finding ways to provide a pleasant, enjoyable and healthy working environment for all staff and businesses on the site.”