Willerby Wellbeing Hub provides a tranquil space for positive mental health

Holiday homes designer and manufacturer Willerby is supporting the mental health and wellbeing of its workforce by introducing a dedicated area for staff to take a break and access support.

Hull West and Hessle MP Emma Hardy opens the Willerby Wellbeing Hub, supported by Willerby’s Director of People Susan Pender, left, Chief Financial Officer Sue Allan, and Willerby team members.

The Willerby Wellbeing Hub is located within a Willerby Bespoke park home at the company’s factory site in east Hull.

The interior of the lodge includes a reflection room, which could be used for mental health benefits, counselling or prayer, as well as a larger space for group sessions or training.

The outside area has been transformed into a landscaped garden, providing a tranquil outdoor space for employees to use, complete with a decked area and seating.

The lodge also acts as a reception to welcome visitors to Willerby’s Hull Showground.

Willerby has invested over £100,000 in the facilities, as part of the company’s focus on ensuring its 1,150-strong workforce is as healthy and supported as possible .

Susan Pender, Willerby’s Director of People, said: “The entrance to the site used to be a bit of an eyesore, but now it has been completely transformed for the better.

“Mental health is not a new issue but it has become more prominent and to support our staff we want to do something different, which is where the idea for the Willerby Wellbeing Hub was born.

“It’s a great place for our staff to take a break and access any support they need. Willerby is a very busy workplace, so to be able to provide a dedicated area where staff members can spend some quiet, peaceful time is really important.”

Willerby has teamed up with Think Mental Health, which delivers mental health first aid training courses to help improve wellbeing in the workplace for employees and employers across Hull and the East Riding.

Founder Paul Longley visits the company once a month to offer counselling, training and support to anyone who requires it, as well as offering support in their roles to Willerby’s 29-strong team of Mental Health First Aiders.

Paul said: “The way Willerby is supporting its staff and their wellbeing is absolutely fantastic. The Wellbeing Hub is a safe space where people can go and where staff are encouraged to open up if they’re not feeling their best. If we can give people confidence to talk, we can help them solve problems.

“The work we’re doing is a team effort and I’m very proud to work with Willerby. We’ve invested a lot of time and effort and we’re building trust and confidence across the workforce at all levels. It’s fantastic to see people thriving at work.”

Training for Mental Health First Aiders includes mental health awareness for line managers, enabling them to spot potential mental health problems among their teams and giving them confidence to check on their wellbeing.

Susan added: “The COVID pandemic brought mental health struggles to the fore for many people and also highlighted how men often struggle to talk about their feelings.

“We have a predominantly male workforce and the benefits of having Paul on site each month are very evident. It has raised mental health to the top of our agenda, helping to tackle any issues our staff may be facing.

“We’re looking at the whole issue of employee wellbeing in a holistic way, strengthening our occupational health offering and also looking at how nutritional and physical health impacts on mental health.

“We’re striving to ensure we have the healthiest and fittest workforce possible. We also want staff to be engaged and have a good experience while they’re at work.”

Hull West and Hessle MP Emma Hardy officially opened the Willerby Wellbeing Hub, which will also be made available at times to local community groups in need of space.

She said: “I’m absolutely delighted to officially open this fantastic new facility at Willerby.

“It’s great that Willerby, as one of Hull’s leading employers, recognises the importance of supporting the mental health and wellbeing of its people.

“Mental health is an incredibly important issue that all major employers should be aware of, to support their staff.

“The Willerby Wellbeing hub is a brilliant idea and, along with the other mental health support the company provides, I’m sure it will be welcomed by everyone who works there.”

Mark Clayton, Production Manager and a Mental Health First Aider at Willerby, said: “People are now much more aware of mental health and how it can affect us all in various ways.

“Willerby’s approach in prioritising positive mental health and providing training to identify and address issues is the right one for a modern business. It’s helped me to support a few people who have experienced personal difficulties.

“We have a large workforce and we’re definitely going in the right direction in being there for our people.

“The Willerby Wellbeing Hub is an important part of the support the company provides. It’s a place for people to chill out, have a break, relax and access support. It’s a very welcome addition to the site.”