Move More For Our Mental Health #MHAW2024

This year Mental Health Awareness Week (13–19 May) focuses on how we can introduce more physical activity into our daily lives to enhance our mental health and wellbeing, promoting the message with the hashtag #MomentsForMovement.

According to the Mental Health Foundation, engaging in regular physical activity can lower stress and anxiety, help prevent the onset of mental health issues, and has been shown to enhance the quality of life for those dealing with mental health challenges.

At Aptus, nothing is more important to us than ensuring that our team are as happy, healthy and well as possible and, in addition to our 40 qualified Mental Health First Aiders ready to provide support, we regularly look at ways we can encourage people to engage in physical activities.

Wellbeing culture

We are committed to fostering a positive wellbeing culture, and new team members are immediately introduced to our attractive benefits package, which offers gym membership discounts. Our company is also known for participating in philanthropic activities, often involving a variety of sporting challenges, which we encourage everyone to join in!

A look through our archives shows that Aptus teams and colleagues have taken on everything from dragon boat racing and hiking mountains to triathlons and boxing competitions, all in the name of charity.

In 2023, a group from Aptus embarked on one of our most demanding physical challenges yet hiking the Yorkshire Three Peaks to raise funds for Derian House Children’s Hospice in Chorley. The near-marathon length hike took weeks of preparation and, despite experiencing extremes of weather on the day, our intrepid trekkers successfully scaled the famous peaks of Whernside, Ingleborough and Pen-y-Ghent within the 12-hour target.

For the last two years we have also sponsored a team ‘Aptus United’ to compete against local businesses in a Lancashire-based football tournament known as the Orphanage Cup. This historic event was originally launched in 1932 to support Blackburn Children’s Orphanage which in its modern guise continues to provide aid to vulnerable children, adults and families across the country through the work of Child Action North West (CANW).

Throughout our history many colleagues have set ambitious personal challenges to bring attention to causes close to their heart, whilst raising money to support them.

Our managing director Lisa Kerford completed a triathlon  and raised more than £1,500 to help the Oasis Unit in Rochdale fund a sensory garden. Elsewhere, regional design manager Liam Pearson triumphed in a boxing competition and raised over £1,000 for Breast Cancer UK.

Race At Your Pace Corporate Challenge

Earlier this year, as part of a new initiative to motivate people to get active, we turned to Race At Your Pace, an online platform offering virtual running, walking, cycling and swimming challenges to inspire people of all ages and abilities to keep active.

We invited colleagues to take part in the corporate challenge which entailed walking, running, or cycling a collective 3,000 miles in February. Thirty-seven colleagues joined in, setting personal goals to achieve within the month. This led to some friendly rivalry and spurred everyone on, so that as a group we smashed our target!

A survey conducted after the event demonstrated that the challenge had positive effects on mental health and wellbeing:

  • 97% reported improved mental health
  • 91% reported improved physical wellbeing
  • 94% said they were more active as a result of taking part

We continued the theme in our Academy workshop, inviting Aptus quantity surveyor and certified personal trainer Ryan Maksymow to deliver an engaging session on health, fitness, and diet – which was well received!

Aptus Run Club starts up

After the success of our Race At Your Pace corporate challenge, people director Natasha Clarke was inspired to set up a weekly Aptus Run Club to create an opportunity for colleagues to join in a physical activity that fits around their working day.

The Aptus Run Club is open to runners and walkers of all abilities and has held two sessions so far. Natasha said the sessions have been greatly enjoyable and she’s looking forward to more people joining them.

A keen runner, Natasha has been training since January for the Great Manchester Run Half Marathon on the 26th of May. She is taking part to raise funds for Beat, the eating disorder charity. Also running in the half marathon is water network design engineer Lewis Higham, who is raising money for the Alzheimer’s Society. They are joined by electrical manager Jack Farnworth, who will be taking part in the 10km race.

Lots more of our team have been embracing sporting challenges – among them design coordinator Kate Mcdonough, who recently ran her first 5K Race for Life, supporting Cancer Research UK (CRUK).

Group finance director Chris Toole and financial controller Ross Cowburn are gearing up for June’s Bolton Iron Man competition, which entails a 1.2-mile (1.9km) swim, cycling 56 miles (90km), and culminates with a 13.1 mile (21.1km) run. They will be joined by electrical design engineer Scott Egerton, who recently completed his first triathlon and is enjoying improving his fitness through the different challenges involved.

For Jack in our HSQE team, regular golf sessions have proved a great way to unwind and he is focused on improving his handicap through various competitive events!

We wish everyone at Aptus the best of luck in their upcoming sporting challenges!

Finding Your Moments For Movement

What constitutes appropriate exercise varies from person to person. However, the Mental Health Foundation advises that for an activity to become a habitual part of our lives and confer the most significant health benefits, it should be enjoyable.

Mental Health Foundation suggests finding moments for movement every day, including activities that stimulate the heart rate and muscles, triggering the release of hormones that can reduce feelings of stress and anger. Visit Mental Health Foundation website for inspiration on ways to get moving more.

The Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity has also been advocating for physical activity as a way to foster mental health this week, highlighting their resources which support individuals to prioritise self-care and integrate healthy practices into their daily routines.

Their sessions on Managing Mental Health in the Workplace, in addition to MHFA England® Accredited Courses, are available at no cost to Company Supporters. They also offer a diverse mix of training and learning options, much of which is free and caters to site operatives, project managers, and office-based professionals. To find out more, visit their Wellbeing Academy.

Published on 17th May 2024

Natasha Clarke

Natasha Clarke

People Director

Natasha Clarke heads up the People functions at Aptus, including Human Resources and internal and external communications. She has assisted in the training and development of a number of key members of staff and has also ensured a number of Business Administration Apprentices have successfully obtained their qualifications.

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