UK food and drink group Princes has launched a mental health first aider programme this week after a successful trial at two of its canning sites.
The programme, which is part of Princes’ people excellence strategy and its health and wellbeing offering, is being introduced to its six other sites across the UK, including its head office in Liverpool, before a planned international roll-out.
The group, which already has a team of 10 mental health first aiders working at each of its food production sites in Long Sutton and Wisbech, has put out a call to its 500 employees to encourage more people to volunteer for the role.
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Joe Dent, chief people officer of Princes, explained that the team is very proud of what has been achieved at the two trial sites and he is looking forward to the programme being rolled out further, as it is already making a real difference.
“The health and wellbeing of our colleagues is of the utmost importance to us. Whether colleagues are facing emotional, physical or financial challenges, we want to do what we can to spot the signs and to support and steer them to access the right help,” he said.
Rachel Naylor, Princes HR business partner at Long Sutton and Wisbech, added that the programme has been well received, helping to create calm environments where staff can relax, talk and discuss their problems.
“Our mental health first aiders are very visible in the business, they wear stickers on their hats, badges or lanyards so they’re instantly recognisable and their details and photographs are on our colleague noticeboards.
“During the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic they wore face masks with ‘I’m here to help’ written on them. They have great empathy and when they ask people how they are, they are always ready to listen,” she said.