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Barca Leeds has been a Mindful Employer since 2015 and is a community-based charity delivering transformational projects for adults, children, young people and families in Leeds.

In this article Barca Leeds proudly share how they have approached staff wellbeing over the past year and how this has impacted positively on staff feedback:

“Here at Barca-Leeds, the mental health and wellbeing of our staff and volunteers is a main priority at our organisation. We focus on providing a supportive and understanding environment for our 160+ staff and volunteer workforce and this is done in a number of thoughtfully designed ways.

Earlier this year we established a new peer support network called Barca Minds. This staff and volunteer led initiative offers a safe space for all involved to share ideas that can make Barca-Leeds a better, healthier place to work.Since its inception, Barca Minds has provided regular open and informative group sessions, led by our diverse and skilled staff and partners. Sessions have covered topics such as resilience, understanding warning signs and top tips on improving mental health.

Our successful Walk this May challenge, brought teams together and encouraged our employees to spend time outside, with our whole workforce walking over 20 million steps – enough from Leeds to Sydney!

Alongside Barca Minds, Barca-Leeds are also proud to members of Mindful Employer Leeds. As a member we benefit from a wide range of support, guidance and information. Our membership also enables us to offer 24/7 access to the Mindful Employer Plus employee assistance programme, alongside our commitment to providing 6 sessions of counselling and talk therapy to all members of staff.

We are proud of this co-produced approach that is valued across the whole organisation and we believe it makes Barca-Leeds a workplace that is a mentally healthier place for all staff. In our recent annual staff survey feedback showed that our staff felt valued and appreciated (scoring it 8.6 out of 10).

Our flexible and understanding approach was also needed when agile working quickly became usual practice during the COVID-19 pandemic. Barca-Leeds staff managed working from home alongside the daily pressures of home schooling and caring responsibilities. We as an organisation responded to this change in working behaviours and made sure staff welfare was at the forefront of our thinking and planning. We were pleased that 91% of staff and volunteers scored our pandemic response as a 4 or 5 out 5.

As well as our rapid response to improve how we worked, we also understood how working from home has the potential to negatively impact the mental health and wellbeing of our staff. Our Acts of Kindness initiative is designed to ensure staff and volunteers feel a part of our organisation and has recently provided a number of ‘pick me up’s’ including yoga sessions, random prize draws and time off. To celebrate #WorldMentalHealthDay and the upcoming Kinder Leeds festival, we have a programme of staff benefits lined up including staff walks, laughter workshops, yoga and more!

We recognise that making Barca-Leeds a better, healthier place to work is an ongoing and inclusive process and we aim to improve our workplace at every opportunity.”

To find out more about Barca Leeds you can visit their website: www.barca-leeds.org

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