Supported by South Ribble Council other local and national delivery partners, the Active Lancashire-led Business Health Matters programme has brought together the expertise of specialists at the University of Central Lancashire, ukactive and Lancashire Mind to deliver a tailored and affordable workplace health offer to Lancashire-based SMEs.
The three-year programme, aims to help employees across the county to take ownership and improve their own health and wellbeing, whilst businesses will benefit from a healthier, happier and more resilient workforce.
It offers two main services to businesses in the form of the ESF-funded Workplace Health Champion Training and the government-backed Workplace Health Screenings service.
The free training includes basic skills (Mathematics, English and ESOL) and a Level 2 and Level 3 NCFE-accredited qualification. The screenings, focused on employees aged 50 plus.
Adrian Leather, chief executive at Active Lancashire, said: “Speaking to Lancashire businesses and business leaders, I repeatedly hear about the loss of staff due to sickness and poor attendance at work; some of it due to the pandemic, much of it due to long term health conditions.
“Today’s launch of Business Health Matters creates a significant opportunity to increase the competitiveness of our 53,000 businesses and the productivity of our 650,000 workers in Lancashire.”
The programme has undertaken a training and pilot phase over the last 12 months, in which staff from South Ribble Borough Council’s Active Health Team have undergone extensive training to deliver both the Workplace Health Champion Training and the Workplace Health Screening service to businesses across the borough.
Councillor Mick Titherington, Deputy Leader of South Ribble Borough Council and Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “The most valuable asset of any organisation is its people, and the launch of Business Health Matters will bring real benefits for employers and employees alike – with a healthier and happier workforce providing a major boost for our local economy.
“I would urge all local employers to explore how the Workplace Health Champion Training and the Workplace Health Screening service can improve the productivity of their staff and make their organisation a more attractive and enjoyable place for people to work.”
Combining a £5m investment from the European Social Fund and £3m from the UKRI’s healthy ageing challenge, the launch of the programme is a landmark moment for Lancashire with a huge potential to benefit Lancashire’s economy and ease the strain on the county’s health services, with support from a range of partners including Lancashire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Chambers of Commerce, Sport England and Lancashire County Council.
Businesses can now learn more about the programme at businesshealthmatters.org.uk