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East Midlands Chamber News

Improving the mental and physical wellbeing of construction sector workers

An innovative project has been launched to improve the mental and physical wellbeing of construction workers in the Nottingham area.

The Construction Industry Peer Scheme (CIPS) has a target to support over 100 sector workers in the next 12 months.

Participants will get free access to 24/7 online help from a reputable digital support service - Big White Wall - for people who are stressed, anxious, low or simply not coping.

They will also be given opportunities to take part in discussion groups and a choice of physical activities aimed at helping them to develop and maintain a healthy lifestyle and giving them the tools with which to manage their mental health and wellbeing.

The service is free to users, confidential and aims to be flexible to fit in with the needs of those taking part. It is open to any construction worker living or working in the Nottingham area.

Groups are delivered by Self Help Uk and Notts County Football in the Community. Both have experience of working with people with physical and mental health issues. They will use their combined experience to engage and motivate participants.

Where additional support needs are identified, referral to external support services will be made and, in limited cases, the project may be able to fund rapid access to physical therapies to enable participants to stay in work or return to work more quickly.

The CIPS project can also support employers to develop self-help groups in the workplace with practical help to set up the groups. A CIPS support toolbox has been developed for employers.

A pilot project launched in February and is proving successful. The next session will begin on 29 April at the YMCA, in Aspley, Nottingham. For details of how to take part contact Glenda 07516 110215.

The project is funded by the Work and Health Unit – a partnership between the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department for Health and Social Care – and is led by Nottingham City Council.

Chris Hobson, Director of Policy at the award-winning East Midlands Chamber*, a partner in the project, said: “Despite massive changes in recent years, there remains a certain mind-set in the construction sector that means people don’t talk about their problems. But that doesn’t mean mental and physical health issues don’t exist.

“The Construction Industry Peer Support scheme will give workers an outlet through which to discuss their problems with other people who are also ‘suffering in silence’. Together they will be able to find solutions and a route to recovery.”

Participants in the pilot project have spoken about the benefits of taking part. Only their first names have been included to protect their confidentiality.

Jayne, a painter and decorator, said: “I’ve learned a lot about the different ways I can manage stress and improve my wellbeing and I’m starting to make changes.”

Mark, a groundworker, said: “I would definitely recommend the CIPS course, I feel it is helping me to get fitter and improve my energy levels.”


CIPS is one of the 19 initiatives across the UK selected to receive funding from the Work and Health Challenge Fund.