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The Cost of Living crisis has a huge impact on our population’s mental wellbeing. With people in poverty as one of our existing strategic focuses, it has been important to us to respond to the increasing pressure.

The Leeds Mindful Employer Network has been particularly active in this area, which supports employers to take a positive approach to mental health at work. Here, Leigh Staunton, co-ordinator for Leeds Mindful Employer Network, tells us what they’ve been working on.

“Both employers and employees are facing huge challenges due to the Cost of Living crisis and we have been working hard on ensuring that practical tips for financial wellbeing have been regularly provided to members through our communications and events.

In 2022, we had our virtual event ‘Money, Mental Health and how employers can help’. Our financial wellbeing survey found out how the Cost of Living crisis was impacting our members. We worked with trusted local financial advice services to produce the resource ‘Financial Wellbeing – 20 top tips for employers’. We have provided redundancy resources to employers and employees and held an event around ‘Supporting Staff Through Challenging Times’.

L-R – Annie King-Davies and Leigh Staunton (Leeds Mind); Caroline Siarkiewicz, Marlene Shiels and Jenny Wright of the Money & Pensions Service

In February this year, we had a very special visit from prominent figures from the UK’s financial advice sector. I was joined by Annie King-Davies who works on Leeds Mind’s Money & Me and Help Through Hardship services, to meet with representatives from the Money & Pensions Service.

Visiting us was Jenny Wright, Regional Partnership Manager at the Money & Pensions Service, who has provided valuable support and guidance on financial wellbeing to our network. Jenny was joined by Caroline Siarkiewicz, the Money & Pensions Service CEO, and Marlene Shiels OBE, Non-Executive Director of the Money & Pensions Service and Chief Executive Officer at Capital Credit Union.

I presented about Leeds Mindful Employer Network’s ongoing work on financial wellbeing, and Annie talked our visitors through these fantastic services.

Marlene Shiels OBE, fed back: “The work you are doing here is inspirational, it’s market leading.”

On Financial Wellbeing, Caroline Siarkiewicz had words of advice for our network members:

“Don’t underestimate the impact money worries and debt can have on the financial and broader wellbeing of your staff.

By putting practical, supportive strategies in place that can help staff with their finances and financial wellbeing, and signposting staff to trusted financial advice, employers can have an enormous influence.

Making sure you have a team that feels supported and that is well looked after is always a win-win for employers.”

All in all, we had lots to reflect on as we navigate challenging times for employers and employees alike. Keep an eye on our social media channels for our upcoming events.”

Click the link for more information on Leeds Mindful Employer Network.