Businesses in Northumberland and Tyne & Wear are being urged to get behind a new campaign to support their employees’ physical and mental health during the second national lockdown and beyond.
The #NEMovement was launched by Rise, the new active partnership for Northumberland and Tyne & Wear, this month in a bid to help inspire and motivate people and communities to continue to be physically active – by way of any movement that suits them, in any place, at any time.
The campaign aims to promote better physical and mental health across the North East by tackling inactivity and boosting wellbeing. It brings together the important message to keep active during the pandemic, along with the latest advice and guidance as to what is and isn’t allowed during the second national lockdown. This information will be updated as and when regional and national restrictions change over the winter months.
Employers have a duty to look after their workforce, but during the pandemic it’s even more important for businesses to look after their people’s health and wellbeing. With many more people working from home than usual and at different location, this can prove to be a real challenge for bosses.
#NEMovement has developed a campaign that makes it easy for employers to access the information they need, all in one place, so they can enable their people to be more active in their daily lives.
The campaign provides helpful information for individuals, organisations, businesses and partners, including how to encourage children to be active outside of school, with content specifically aimed at adults and the over 65s, as well as the benefits of activity and exercise for your mental health.
The campaign is being backed by local authorities, NHS Trusts, North East Ambulance Service, along with transport providers, businesses, educational establishments, housing associations and personal trainers who are happy to support and share campaign messages with their users and own employees.
Businesses wishing to support the campaign, can access the #NEMovement toolkit, which includes important key messages, suggested social media posts and a movement tracker, as well as tips for getting active, maintaining good mental health and the latest government and Sport England advice about being active in a safe way.
Research has shown that inactivity is twice as deadly as obesity. In the UK one in six deaths is due to inactivity[i]. The North East has the second highest levels of inactivity in the UK, almost 40% of adults in Tyne & Wear[ii] and Northumberland[iii] are not achieving the Chief Medical Officer’s minimum requirements of 30 minutes per day of moderate to intense physical activity. More than 50% of children and young people in the UK are not meeting Chief Medical Officer guidelines of taking part in sport and physical activity for an average of 60 minutes or more every day[iv].
At the same time, the cost of inactivity on the economy, including the treatment of diseases and sickness absence, is in excess of £10bn per year in England[v].
Clare Morley, CEO at Rise, said: “We’re urging employers and businesses to get behind our campaign and support their workforce to adopt some of the practices to enable them to be more active over the winter months.
“Research has shown that coronavirus has made it much harder for people to get active and we know the change of season will only make it more difficult. At Rise we believe that the power of activity and sport to support people’s physical and mental health has never been more important than it is right now. There is strong evidence that it helps to improve sleep quality, provides us with a greater sense of optimism, can support with stress management, and helps to put us in a more positive mood generally; all things that we all need right now.
“As Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty, said at the height of the pandemic in April: ‘There is no situation, no age, no condition, where exercise is not a good thing’. We are therefore pleased to be working with partners and businesses to help spread these messages.”
Nexus Group Head of HR, Alison Rhodes, said: “At Nexus we have over 1000 employees working in a wide variety of roles, and at the moment, most of our office-based employees are working from home. With reduced team contact and massive changes to daily routines, plus shorter days and darker nights, it’s easy to see how some people could struggle with their overall wellbeing. Next week, we’re encouraging all employees, wherever they’re working, to take a real break, get active and enjoy some fresh air and daylight. Becoming and keeping active is important for physical and mental wellbeing and we hope we can kickstart some good habits over the winter months.”
Rise, which is funded by Sport England and a number of other national and local organisations, was launched four months ago to develop more active communities across Northumberland and Tyne & Wear.
The charity works across Gateshead, Newcastle, Sunderland, North and South Tyneside, and Northumberland by working with a wide range of partners. These include local authorities and teams from across a range of sectors including leisure, education, public health, criminal justice, planning, housing and transport.