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BaxterStorey partners with Waste Knot for new nature-based hospitality mental health campaign

The hospitality foodservice provider has become the first company to partner with Waste Knot’s new campaign to support hospitality workers’ mental health by reconnecting them with nature.

Fruit and vegetable waste prevention organisation Waste Knot’s campaign ‘Waste Knot People’ aims to address concerns around the environments and cultures within which hospitality professionals have been operating, with stress and pressures leading to burnout, depression and anxiety.

Waste Knot has developed day-courses at Brook Farm in Harwich which will be run by Jess Latchford, Founder of Waste Knot, and Pete Thompson, Owner of Nature Based Farming, to help attendees develop a range of techniques for resilience, grounding, understanding of how our inner-ecosystems are inextricably linked to our outer-ecosystems and what we can learn from how nature behaves.

Activities will include paddle boarding, open water swimming, foraging, open-fire cooking, glamping, natural navigation, yoga, mindfulness and forest bathing. Course content will incorporate topics including regenerative leadership, biomimicry, responsibility and interdependency, and how these drive change, affect the wellbeing of people and planet, and shared ownership and responsibility. The course will also explore the connections between nature and green therapies with community and charity, agriculture, corporations, and deliverable results and expectations.

BaxterStorey’s internal WOW (Wisdom Of Wellbeing) group was first to attend the campaign’s mental health support course. Attendees were provided with insights during the course to continue shaping recommendations to improve mental health support within the business. Other groups from BaxterStorey will also subsequently attend the course.

A study carried out by the Royal Society for Public Health found that:

  • 74 per cent of hospitality workers reported suffering verbal abuse from customers.
  • 24 per cent of hospitality workers had required medical or psychological treatment for mental health issues.
  • Only one in every 10 workers stated that they had access to mental health awareness training.
  • 62 per cent of respondents believed that the hospitality industry did not do enough for the physical and mental health of employees.
  • 45 per cent of respondents stated they would not recommend working in hospitality.

In addition, all respondents said that they didn’t receive enough mental health support from their employer and just 23 per cent said they felt they were able to raise mental health concerns.

However, supporting employee mental health has been shown to help in creating positive workplace culture with demonstrable impacts on sick leave, staff retention, productivity, staff attraction and reputation.

BaxterStorey Director of Food and Beverage, Greg Bramwell, who is also the group’s WOW network Executive Sponsor, said: “As a business, we have a duty of care to protect and safeguard our people, especially in these extremely tough times for society. We believe the answer to this is to give them the time and space to temporarily step back from the pressures of day-to-day life and reconnect with nature.

“Our collaboration with Waste Knot will ensure our people have exposure to the environment and access to professional support networks, as well as providing education, exercise and some much-needed fun in the process.”

Lizzie Hennig, Head of Nutrition at BaxterStorey commented: “As well as feeding over one million people a year, we have a responsibility to do right by our teams. Our partnership with Waste Knot and Waste Knot People is part of our Nourish to Flourish mission and our ‘people, planet, purpose’ strategy. Nourish to Flourish focuses on taking a holistic view of health, wellbeing and sustainability and is how we are going to tackle sustainable nutrition.”

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