On Thursday 7 February, The Challenge won the Newcomer – Public and Third Sector award at the REBA Employee Wellbeing Awards 2019.

(From left to right) Siân Vernon, human resources and organisational development director, Matthew Huggins, health, welfare and disability manager, Lindsey Barrass, head of talent, learning and culture accept the award on behalf of The Challenge.

The awards ‘celebrate the great work of employers leading the way in employee wellbeing’ and the judges were able to see how well The Challenge is doing that through its mental health national action plan. First launched in 2018, the plans main aim is to empower staff and managers to address mental health needs and reduce the negative impacts of work on mental health in a sustainable and well-monitored way. The results of The Challenge’s plan were recognised by the judges who praised our ‘commitment to continuous learning and improvement’.

Our CEO, Oliver Lee OBE, said: “I am delighted about our success at the REBA awards last night. This recognition of our work not only proves how important mental health is at The Challenge but also how dedicated we are to supporting our employees. The entire team involved in this programme has worked incredibly hard on making sure that our organisation is as supportive and innovative as possible when it comes to mental health and wellbeing. This is a very proud moment for the organisation as we continue to invest in our people and I look forward to seeing how we continue to develop our mental health and wellbeing programme.”

The awards took place at BAFTA, London and were hosted by journalist and Strictly Come Dancing star Kate Silverton. Before the winners were announced, attendees spent time networking with the judges and other organisations to discuss new strategies around wellbeing and health in the workplace at the Ham Yard Hotel in London.

Over 170 companies had entered the awards to win one of 16 categories including leadership and culture, social wellbeing in the workplace and most improved. The Challenge had a lot of competition from large organisations including North Bristol NHS Trust and NMC Parkside Hospital in Wimbledon, London, who were also shortlisted for the newcomer award.

Matthew Huggins, health, welfare and disability manager, Lindsey Barrass, head of talent, learning and culture and Siân Vernon, human resources and organisational development director attended the event to accept the award on behalf of The Challenge. Their combined work, along with that of their teams, is what led to this success.

Lindsey and Matthew celebrate winning a REBA award

Matthew said: “This award is the result of a real team effort across the country – the hard work of our mental health representatives across the regional offices in promoting mental health and wellbeing, and telling people about our support tools; our CEO and leadership team, who have backed our mental health national action plan with time and resources, and all of our core and NCS seasonal staff who push on this issue every day. The awards last night showed us how far we have come but also gave a clear call for action to continue our progress in this area over the next year.”

The REBA judging panel’s verdict said that there were ‘plenty of reasons judges awarded The Challenge this top award’ such as ‘creating a strategy that delivers on its ambition’. One judge said: “The Challenge has put the investment in and is demonstrating the seriousness of their endeavour. Above everything else, its entry demonstrated really good and clear governance.”

REBA also praised the fact that the organisation has recognised the importance of prioritising work in this area, notably following a recent staff survey where 43 per cent of The Challenge’s workforce self-identified as having a diagnosed mental health condition or poor mental health.

Tuesday 12 February, 2019