HR Manager Kay Wiseman wins Health Advocate of the Year for Sunderland

“Kay’s passion for this project has been clear from the beginning showing outstanding commitment and professionalism throughout her leadership ensuring everyone has the right level of information and is able to contribute equally.”

Catherine Wilmot, Executive Director (Operations & Finance)

Congratulations to our HR Manager Kay Wiseman for winning the Health Advocate of the Year for Sunderland as part of the Better Health at Work Award (BHAWA). This award recognises the efforts of employers in the North East and Cumbria in addressing health issues within the workplace, the NHC gained the Bronze award last year and has been working towards the Silver Award this year.

A Health Advocate is a voluntary role within an organisation taken by someone who is passionate about health and wellbeing, wants to help raise awareness of health topics, and contribute to developing a positive wellbeing culture in the workplace – and even beyond. Kay works with three other Health Advocates to provide a supportive wellbeing programme at the NHC. The Better Health at Work Award scheme works with over 400 regional employers so winning this accolade is great testament to the work Kay has delivered on behalf of the NHC staff over the course of 2022.

Having established our staff-lead wellbeing working group over four years ago, wellbeing has long since been a high priority for NHC which we empower our staff to feel invested in, but by working towards BHAWA accreditation we felt we could sustain and improve on the efforts and achievements made to date, offer a broader and more structured range of wellbeing ideas and initiatives, and benefit from being part of the supportive community of organisations participating in and affiliating with the BHAWA program.

Some of the work Kay and her health advocate colleagues coordinated throughout the year included three wellbeing campaigns: ‘Better Sleep Week’, ‘Healthy Eating on a Budget’ and ‘Mental heath campaign’. These campaigns included a number of activities: webinars, competitions, tips and advice, nutrition packs, themed virtual brews, external speakers and getting outdoors schemes.

One example was during the ‘Better sleep week’ in trying to engage staff and encourage an element of fun into the campaign Kay came up with a photo competition for staff to submit photos of what they saw out on their walks. It was simple for all staff to get involved and was accessible to all being at their own pace. The internal Teams channel sparked loads of conversations about local walks between members of staff who may not naturally speak to each other in their work.

Kay thinks outside of the box when it comes to communicating campaign messages and for the ‘healthy eating on a budget’ campaign she asked a nutritionist to do a session at the staff quarterly workshop where staff got to hear from an external professional about a range of topics including the difference between ‘use by’ dates and ‘sell by’ dates, how to ensure a budget-friendly balanced diet and how to do a weekly meal plan. She also worked with colleagues to provide a nutrition pack to give out to each member of staff.

Representatives at the BHAWA were blown away by the Bronze award submission, a representative said: “There is a genuine feeling that the work being done to support health and wellbeing at NHC is welcomed throughout the organisation and being done because they really care about their staff. Wellbeing is built into team objectives which show further commitment from the organisation to look after their staff. Employee wellbeing is seen as essential and not just a ‘nice to have.”

Catherine Wilmot, Executive Director (Operations & Finance) said:

“Kay always has an open door policy and has time for everyone’s input and ideas, and has worked tirelessly well above and beyond her normal working week gathering the relevant evidence and information for this project. Remarkably despite her high workload I know she always finds time to offer support to other key members of the team.”

Kay was presented her award at the NHC’s staff quarterly workshop and suitably embarrassed in front of her colleagues.