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South Tyneside Council Helps Businesses With Workplace Health

South Tyneside Council has been encouraging employers in the borough to promote physical and mental wellbeing in the workplace.

There is clear evidence that good work improves health and wellbeing across people's lives from both an economic standpoint and in terms of quality of life. In the UK, 131 million working days are lost to sickness absence every year with 2.4% of employees in South Tyneside taking at least one sick day. The South Tyneside Better Health at Work Award (BHAWA) aims to reduce this percentage by encouraging employers in the borough to be more health-aware.

Councillor Tracey Dixon, Deputy Leader of South Tyneside Council responsible for Independence and Wellbeing said: "This year the BHAWA celebrates ten years of making North East workplaces happier and healthier. Since 2016, the council has more than tripled the number of companies achieving the BHAWA status with 21 secured in 2018."

South Tyneside-based company, Cell Pack Solutions, has worked with the council to raise awareness of good health among their workforce. As part of a Health Needs Assessment the company, who employ 28 members of staff, found that 65% marked 'work life balance' as a concern and 43% marked 'stress' as a concern making those the top priorities for the company.

To help improve the wellbeing of staff a 'Health Garden' has been developed at their South Shields site.

What was once the staff smoking area has now been transformed into a relaxing, rejuvenating space where employees can practice mindfulness and educate themselves on sustainability for a healthy lifestyle. All aspects of the garden from the paving stones to the flower beds have been designed, sourced and constructed by employees of the company using recycled materials. Fresh fruit and vegetables also grow in the garden providing staff with easy access to a variety of healthy produce.

Councillor Tracey Dixon, Deputy Leader of South Tyneside Council responsible for Independence and Wellbeing, said: "Having a healthy workforce is a priority for any company and it's truly amazing to see how much time and effort Cell Pack Solutions have put in to creating a tranquil space for its employees to relax during their break times. This is what the Better Health at Work Award is all about."

Eddie Czestochowski, Managing Director of Cell Pack Solutions, said: "The Better Health at Work Award has opened a line of communication we didn't realise we needed here at Cell Pack Solutions. After beating stomach Cancer, my own health made me realise the importance of looking after yourself, and I was really keen to spread the importance of being healthy.

"Everyone has done a great job in creating the garden and it's so nice that all of the staff have chipped in to bring it together. We are looking forward to working towards achieving the Silver Award."

Since the introduction of the garden, employees have said they already feel more energised after spending their break times in the fresh air and say they much prefer sitting outside rather than sitting in the canteen.

Andrea, 53, a Production Operator at Cell Pack Solutions, added: "We all watched out of the windows while they worked hard building the seats out of broken pallets. It's been great to get some fresh air during lunch and eat Al Fresco surrounded by flowers and butterflies."

To find out more about the Better Health at Work Award go to www.betterhealthatworkne.org or contact Caroline Hall, BHAWA Workplace Health Coordinator on Tel: 0191 424 6510; Email: caroline.hall@southtyneside.gov.uk

To find out more about Cell Pack Solutions, visit www.cellpacksolutions.co.uk

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