For the second year running, the Coronavirus pandemic dominated the headlines, and our lives, in the UK and across the globe. There was the disruption of another major lockdown, the hope of the vaccine roll-out, and plenty of uncertainty about the future. Yet there has also been lots to celebrate – and perhaps *because* of, rather than despite Covid-19, we’ve been determined to find joy in the achievements, milestones and celebrations that Paycare have encountered throughout 2021.
The strength of Paycare has always been the dedication, passion and person-centric ethos of our team, and we’ve continued to work together despite being physically apart for much of the year.
In September, we were thrilled to be reunited for our Rounders Day – which not only allowed us to meet as a whole team for the first time in 18 months, but also saw us raise £2,950 for The Mary Stevens Hospice.
We were also able to get back out and about to see customers once restrictions had lifted (continuing virtual contact where that was preferred, of course) – and take part in the Midlands Business Network Live Expos among other events.
Later in the year, our Commercial Director Anthony Burns joined the board of the Wolverhampton City Credit Union, CEO Kevin Rogers was named Chair of Trustees at the Wolves Foundation, and our Compliance Manager Saranjit Nagra celebrated an incredible 40 years at Paycare!
We launched Wellbeing Days to give every team member two additional days on top of their annual leave in order to focus on their own wellbeing. And there’s been lots of work going on behind the scenes, too (some of which you may have noticed, such as our Policyholder and Customer newsletters having a makeover).
Paycare Wellbeing has led a total of 10 free mental health e-clinics throughout the year (attracting well over 400 attendees), with special guests including: PAPYRUS UK, The Haven Wolverhampton, Samaritans, Cruse Bereavement Care, Wellbeing with Gemma and many more.
Topics have ranged from how managers can support their team’s mental health (our most popular topic to date!) to aligning physical health and wellbeing, the menopause, and anxiety.
We also launched our fantastic Workplace Wellbeing Brochure to support businesses wanting to introduce effective policies and practices for their employees.
Organisations across the country have benefitted from half-day, one-day and two-day courses delivered by our Mental Health First Aid England Trainer Kerry B Mitchell, who recently celebrated two years as Manager at Paycare Wellbeing.
Reflecting on the year, Kerry says:
“This year we have partnered up with various organisations who’ve helped to keep our Policyholders informed and share up-to-date practical strategies around engagement, motivation and workplace wellbeing.
“Via e-clinics, training, and one-to-one coaching, we’ve supported organisations to grow and to empower their teams, by sending a clear message that staff wellbeing matters!
“In some workplaces, mental health is still the elephant in the room – but by continually bringing awareness we are helping bring about change, promote discussion, and share best practice.
“In 2022, I look forward to continuing to destigmatise mental health – and supporting even more employers to respond effectively to mental ill health among staff.”
Community and Partnerships:
We were commended for the Black Country Chamber’s Kindness in the Community Award, as recognition of our continued dedication to supporting others (coming second to the NHS, which we were happy with!).
As part of our community work, we’ve run a series of free wellbeing e-clinics to support individuals and businesses, donated food and supplies to charities including Good Shepherd and The Haven Wolverhampton, and made a £20,000 donation to the Creative Connections Project run by Creative Black Country.
Among those we’ve worked with this year have been The Wheelhouse and Wolverhampton Cricket Club (to launch a co-working office space), The Wellness Hub (in order to provide joint webinars on all things wellbeing), Shropshire Wellbeing Day (sponsorship for the inaugural event), Molton Brown (two further discount partnerships in May and November), the Black Country Consortium (training for young people transitioning to the next stage of their education), and the Netball Development Trust (to help develop a netball and sexual health education programme in Ghana).
Commercial Director Anthony Burns says:
“When I look back on the year, I’m most proud of the way we’ve tried our best to look after our policyholders, people and community during the Covid pandemic. We set up free monthly e-clinics for everyone, and continued our sponsorship commitments when lots of groups were seeing a reduction in support at a time they most needed help.
“I’m proud of the Paycare Team, who not only stayed positive at such a difficult time, but rallied around each other in times of hardship to ensure we were all taken care of.
“And, as always, I’m proud of our customers. At a time when business and home budgets were under a watchful eye, and some health services weren’t available, our customers remained loyal to us – which I think is the thing I’m most grateful for: even in tough times we can provide value and support to our community of customers.
“Loyalty only works when it’s demonstrated both ways, and as we slowly come out of this pandemic, we look forward to repaying that loyalty to our customers and people in the years ahead.”
Ahhhhh, what a year… 🧡