What innovative initiatives have the NextGeneration members developed over the past year?

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1 February 2019

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To recognise projects that push beyond demands of the NextGeneration sustainability benchmark, every year we challenge our NextGeneration members to submit an example of sustainability that is not captured within the current criteria. John Dwyer, Group Sustainability Manager at Telford Homes explains their very successful Mental Health Weeks initiative below. We hope you feel as inspired as we do!

“It is now well understood that the construction industry suffers from one of the highest suicides rates, which for some trades is 2.7 times higher than the UK average. With this in mind and to coincide with World Mental Health day, Telford Homes has run two highly successful ‘Mental Health Weeks’ to help raise awareness amongst its employees, provide support for workers in the industry, and to eradicate the stigma of mental health. The weeks were planned and led by a dedicated “Health and Wellbeing” group who ran a variety of activities within our offices and construction sites.

To help maintain a focus on mental health longer-term we identified and trained 19 mental health first aiders and are training 10 dedicated mental health champions who can listen and provide advice on where to find the best professional support.

Underlining the importance of the campaign, our CEO launched the weeks and encouraged every member of staff to attend the sessions. The Group Managing Director closed the weeks and has since presented its importance to the Home Builder Federation (HBF) National Conference. Subsequently the HBF has teamed up with the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity, a charity dedicated to delivering financial and emotional support to the construction community and their families.

Some examples of Telford Homes activities during the Mental Health Weeks included:

  • Various well-being sessions and workshops provided by speakers from organisations such as the Samaritans, MIND, BUPA, the Lighthouse Club and more
  • Educational activities including Mindfulness, Yoga and Lighthouse Club activities
  • Healthy snacks and fresh fruit provided to staff to encourage a balanced diet
  • Stress balls, shaped as hard hats, handed out to everyone in the business for use
  • External “help” cards handed out to all staff and to share with families
  • Dedicated section created on our intranet which holds recordings of all the presentations that were filmed as well as contacts and advice
  • All First Aiders/ Champions wore specifically designed T-Shirts with the ‘Time to Talk’ logo and strap line, to promote the week, and to be recognisable for future contact and support
  • Mental Health Toolbox Talks delivered to approximately 1,300 operatives on our sites


As a result, our employees are using the resources for support and taking positive steps to tackle any issues they have whilst also gaining a greater understanding of friends and family members who could be struggling.”