A South Tyneside health advocate has received regional recognition for championing the importance of healthy bodies and minds among her work colleagues.
Nicola Reed's work involves providing pastoral care to staff, children and their families across Clervaux and Helen Gibson nurseries as well as implementing plans for children with special, educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
However, it is her role as a Health Advocate, which has led her to scoop the Advocate of the Year 2019 award in North East and Cumbria Better Health at Work Awards (BHAWA) as well as take the title of South Tyneside's 'Advocate of the Year'.
The awards are a partnership between the Northern TUC, the region's local authorities and the NHS, and are supported by Public Health England. They recognise and celebrate the efforts of local employers in addressing health issues in the workplace. Nicola was chosen among 37 nominations, of which four were in South Tyneside.
Councillor Tracey Dixon, South Tyneside Council's Lead Member for Independence and Wellbeing, said: "Well done to Nicola on winning this award. To be selected out of so many nominees from across the region is testament to the outstanding work she does to help create a supportive, stress-free, healthy work environment for her colleagues, the youngsters and their families.
"There is clear evidence that promoting good health in the workplace has a positive impact on employees. Nicola certainly goes the extra mile. She leads by example, enthusiastically involving and motivating others to eat better, to exercise more and leading support for a healthier body and mind. This award is a fantastic achievement."
Judges praised Nicola's dedication to putting the welfare, wellbeing and mental health of her work colleagues at the forefront of her daily role and to supporting parents and families with any problems they face.
Her work has included organising fitness classes, social evenings and fundraisers, motivating and offering a listening ear to colleagues and introducing the 'cup of kindness' to acknowledge colleagues' work, achievements or to demonstrate they are in people's thoughts. She also supports families with drop in sessions and help with issues from sourcing grants to feeding families.
Nicola said: "I'm absolutely stunned. I'm only doing what I'm highly passionate about, which is the wellbeing of all the staff, children and families. Ensuring that staff have a good work life balance and enjoy coming to work is a massive part of what I do and seeing the positive impact it has on everyone gives me huge job satisfaction."
South Tyneside Council currently holds Silver Status for its work to embed health and wellbeing across the authority, supporting its network of health advocates and encouraging physical activity.
Councillor Dixon added: "These awards celebrate success and are a great way to highlight the importance and impact a good health advocate can have in making workplaces healthier and happier and helping us to achieve our wider aim of improving health and wellbeing across the Borough."
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 (0191) 424 6510or email email@example.com