We have given out four £300 Wellbeing in Innovation awards to practices and organisations to help them to fund creative ways to go the extra mile for morale during the coronavirus pandemic.
The competition was launched in May to find out what innovative activities and projects practices wanted to put in place to enhance staff wellbeing, and support the veterinary team during the unprecedented difficulties caused by the pandemic, by providing a small award to help them with this good work.
The entries showcased a range of how technology could create a sense of togetherness and community spirit, even when teams couldn’t be together in a physical space.
The Mind Matters Taskforce chose four particular projects which it found to be outstanding examples of how innovation could be effectively used. These were:
- Crown Vets in Inverness which has trained up members of staff to be ‘Wellbeing Champions’ who can help colleagues with emotional support and coping strategies as well as providing emergency contacts for those in need, including during the pandemic. The practice will be using the award to organise a virtual bingo night for staff, including those on furlough, with prizes.
- Millennium Vets in Braintree, Essex, which has organised an online bootcamp-style exercise group taking place at 9.30am, 7-days a week so that staff could continue to socially interact while also improving their physical and mental health. The practice will be using the award to purchase exercise equipment for the practice so that staff can continue to exercise together before or after work.
- The British Veterinary Ethnicity & Diversity Society (BVEDS) started an online fortnightly book group for its members to discuss books on racial justice, ensuring that all those involved have access to the books whether through a library or via audiobook. BVEDS will use the award to start building up a lending library for its members.
- Friendly Animal Clinic in Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire, a small independent practice which had to furlough many of its staff during the height of the pandemic, will be using the award to fund equipment and refreshments for a 26km charity walk which will bring the practice team back together to wander through some of Yorkshire’s finest scenery.
Lisa Quigley, Mind Matters Manager, said: “I received so many lovely emails as a result of this competition from people and practices who were using innovative ways to keep up that crucial sense of community and friendship that really makes a fantastic working environment, even during these strange and unprecedented times.
“We know that the coronavirus has caused a lot of stress and anxiety within the veterinary community, whether that’s due to increased financial worries, being furloughed or being isolated from friends and loved ones, but it has been very encouraging to see practices thinking of ways that they can bring their colleagues together and provide that much-needed support and interaction. I wish these practices all the best and congratulate them on their awards.”
Further information about the Innovation in Wellbeing Award winners will be made available in due course.