Wellbeing leader to highlight mental health progress at major housebuilding event
22 Mar 2021

A wellbeing leader at Vistry Group will put a spotlight on mental health at a major industry event and discuss how the housebuilder supports its staff. Sam Davey, Vistry learning and development operations manager, will speak today at the National House Building Council’s ‘Building for Tomorrow’ virtual conference, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary. Sam, who has worked at the housebuilder for more than three years, will stress the importance of staff wellbeing. He will outline a selection of the initiatives which have been implemented and describe how Vistry is continually progressing to ensure staff throughout the company are supported. Sam said: “It’s a privilege to be invited to talk about a subject that is so close to my heart. Mental health and wellbeing is so important to everyone within our business and the industry, and there are vital support functions out there to help all those who need it ?" no matter your level or where you’re based in the country. “The housebuilding industry in the past has sometimes been known as a lonesome career ?" especially for those who work on site. But this is improving and we have initiatives ?" both short and long-term strategies ?" to connect all people within our business, whether working outside or as part of a larger team, to make sure they have a voice, someone to talk to, and others to share experiences, lows and successes with.” Vistry has more than 100 Mental Health First Aiders throughout the company, with regular training sessions held to increase this figure. Sam also runs half-day workshops with line managers to help raise awareness of mental health issues and equip them with the skills and knowledge to spot and support those who may need guidance. “As we all know, it’s not just our physical health we need to look after, but also our mental health, which is why we felt it important to have trained Mental Health First Aiders throughout the company to support colleagues, just as you would for any physical ailment,” Sam added. Emphasising even further the importance Vistry has placed in this area, it has partnered with mental health charity Mind ?" its first ever company charity. As well as raising funds for the charity by organising events, raffles and sponsorship activities, Vistry will also highlight the work Mind does, sharing its resources and helping to reduce the stigma that surrounds mental health. “We have always known the importance of staff wellbeing, but when the pandemic hit, we knew we needed to take it a step further,” Sam said. “We established a Mental Health Committee, which brings together representatives from key areas of the business, such as Human Resources, Communications, Learning and Development and Safety, Health and Environment. This group ensures that mental health awareness is a golden thread which runs throughout the company, with simple ideas such as working from home tips on the intranet to larger initiatives, such as the Time to Talk sessions.” Vistry launched weekly Time to Talk sessions last year and the virtual series has seen people from across the business, including the chief executive of its housebuilding arm, directors, site teams and office workers across all departments, discuss topics including homeworking, pressure, workloads, work boundaries and resilience. Vistry also contributes towards the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity, which launched a national family crisis fund to support employees and their families, and has an industry helpline for those who need its services. The housebuilder will launch ‘Toolbox Talks’ later this year to further discuss mental health and wellbeing and to make sure all staff are connected. Microsoft Teams groups are also being set up to improve communication further, plus a mental health calendar of events to mark and support. Mental health first aiders have been trained within the business to offer support to employees and spot the signs of those who may need it. Sam will talk at Building for Tomorrow from 3.15pm. The conference runs from 23rd ?" 25th. Housebuilding employees can book to join the event by visiting building-for-tomorrow.co.uk.

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