Blackpool Transport trains 70 employee wellbeing ambassadors
Blackpool Transport Services (BTS) has shown its commitment to employees and customers by developing and delivering a comprehensive mental and physical wellbeing training programme for the benefit of staff and the wider community. BTS employs over 650 staff to operate both buses and trams within Blackpool and the Fylde.
There are 70 volunteers from across the company who have now been trained as wellbeing ambassadors and ‘Be The Shoulder’ support contacts for colleagues who may have issues relating to their wellbeing. In addition, employees are being given the tools and information to become more aware of the issues that might be faced by customers using the transport network – such as dementia.
The wellbeing training programme which has been delivered to over 12% of the workforce includes mental, physical and financial information and guidance for staff and the executive management team.
As part of the scheme, BTS developed its own ‘Be The Shoulder’ mental health initiative together with Lancashire Mind and Time to Talk. Internal trainers have also been trained to understand dementia issues with the information shared with other BTS employees including drivers – with a Dementia Safe Haven created within Blackpool Transport town centre Customer Centre to offer an additional support facility.
To achieve a high standard of training, visits were made to Transport for London and Preston Environment Agency to learn more about their approach to wellbeing and the available support and facilities they provide. Conferences to understand current approaches to mental and health topics have been attended, while driver training workbooks have been produced with clear signposts to health related agencies.
The BTS wellbeing community structure now includes two executive champions, a wellbeing co-ordinator, four mental health first aiders and the team of enthusiastic ambassadors. Each person wears an immediately identifiable ‘BTS’ badge which allows employees to recognise at a glance who they can speak to discreetly in confidence. Quiet spaces have been created for employees if they need to talk to someone or simply have somewhere to take some time to reflect and feel calmer.
Karen Arrowsmith of Lancashire Mind said: “Embedding wellbeing champions within workplaces to provide peer support to colleagues promotes the supportive culture essential to developing happier workplaces. Blackpool Transport’s ‘Be The Shoulder’ scheme is a great way of embracing their staff’s passion and belief in positive mental wellbeing to provide an additional layer of support for their colleagues which will grow and evolve over time.”
Jane Cole, Blackpool Transport Services Managing Director, commented: “At Blackpool Transport Services we are passionate about the mental, physical and financial wellbeing of our employees and our customers.
“People want to be listened to so by creating a supportive, open and honest culture we are striving to make our workplace environment better for each person.
“We want everyone to be aware there is always someone to talk to within BTS and also have a better understanding of the issues a customer can face.”