Tharina Cronje, CTPDuring the month of May we have run a walking challenge where colleagues were invited to take part in counting their steps and the person with the most steps won a £20 Sweatshop voucher.
My cheer goes to Heather Disberry who walked 597,979 steps in May, to put the numbers in context, there are 55,334 steps in a marathon. So over the course of 4 weeks, Heather has walked the equivalent of 10 marathons!
Heather’s walking secret; she walks her dog every morning and evening, she also walks to work, and goes for a walk at lunchtime with her colleague.
The race for second was very close, Jackie Bird and Fiona Jones with 15,500 steps per day.
We also ran a step-away-from-your-desk challenge getting colleagues to make a conscious decision to take a break after they have completed an important piece of work. In order for people to have something to do when they step away we gave them a crossword and Sudoku to complete and return to me. All correctly answered entries were put in a draw for a prize. My cheer goes to all the entrants which were Katrina Beck, Richard Iredale and Eloise Cheales!
Tess Tucker, Paul SmithMy PSL ‘Champ’ for May has been nominated by a fellow colleague Sarah Burbidge, for her amazing achievements. Olivia Desborough, in retail buying, based in London, has recently done the 2018 London marathon in a record time of 3 hours and 11 minutes. She got this year’s place because she completed the 2017 London marathon in just 3 hours and 19 minutes and was ranked in the top 12% of finishers. She has also recently run the Milton Keynes half marathon and was 3rd overall woman. Olivia also does lots of work for charity and last year climbed Kilimanjaro, with her mum and sister, for the charity ‘Voluntary Service Overseas’.
Sarah says; ‘Olivia is a bit of a fitness idol for us in the Retail office. Even when she’s not training for her marathon’s, she is always out running and plays netball every week. I certainly don’t know anyone else with energy like hers!
Well done Olivia, for being so active and for being such an inspiration to people around you.
Agnieszka Green, SMC EUThis month I'm cheering for two teams, on the professional and personal level:
- Personal cheer for my girlie "Monday night badminton club" - 4th year of playing together almost every Monday night. The badminton club has slowly transformed over the years and we now also enjoy Sunday's bike rides, Tuesday's 5km walks around Caldecotte lake (Milton Keynes), Thursday's spontaneous slow runs around the lake and Saturday's pretend shopping with hidden desire of completing 12.5 k steps around and around the shopping centre. Well, this goes well so far! Many stones lost and pounds of muscles gained!
- Professional cheer for my ETC team, who just cannot quit competing (to my joy) in total weekly steps and always try to beat my hard earned step result! Well done guys. Just so you know, I'm not giving up any time soon!
Kat McDermot, Trowers and HamlinsThis month our champs cheer goes to Liz Timson. She has been a member of Vitality for a long while but never made any use of the benefits of it. This year as a big birthday approaches Liz decided to up her game; she has joined Weight Watchers and lost a whopping 15 lbs in six weeks; she is taking part in a walking challenge so has purchased an activity tracker and has linked this to her Vitality to get her Starbucks and cinema tickets. Way to go Liz!
Tess Tucker, Paul SmithFinally my PSL ‘Champ nomination, for April, goes to Marcus Carratu. Following from March’s newsletter about ‘happiness in the office’ Marcus was nominated by a couple of colleagues about his good attitude at work.
There have been a succession of events which have made Marcus re-think his attitude to work and life. He is very serious about skiing and luckily managed to have two holidays earlier this year, which he enjoyed massively. On his second holiday, he got taken ill with palpitations and thought there could be something seriously wrong with himself, so he took himself to bed to rest. The incident passed without any serious consequence, & was put down to a combination of lack of sleep, altitude & adrenaline. Unfortunately on his return from his holiday, his mother was taken ill and he had a near miss car accident on the motorway. All these recent incidents have made him re-evaluate his life. He has been trying to be as upbeat as possible, in his personal life & in the office, and even helped organised a night out for the Finance & HR departments. He believes that if you are nice to people they will be nice to you! Try and focus on the things you have done well, be positive and life will look a little better.
Being an inspiration is not only for sports and fitness, it can be for attitude as well. A healthy, positive outlook on life can be infectious and inspire people to smile a little more.
Keep up the positive energy Marcus, hopefully it will inspire people to have an attitude like you.
Rebecca Gray, IPC EuropeJust thought I’d update you on what we have been doing since the Champs Training day in November.
Yoga day – across all office we dedicated a whole day to desk yoga. An external yoga instructor visited our office in High Wycombe, Neuss (Germany) and Paris (France). All employees were introduced to desk yoga and the importance of moving, posture and staying hydrated. For those employees of ours that work remotely across Europe we gave them the opportunity to dial in via Skype to any of the sessions so they can join in from the comfort of their own space.
Vitality Health Day – In January we invited Vitality in to run some workshops on the benefits of being part of Vitality. This was open to all members of the team, existing members and potential new members. We also had two clinicians here to run health checks for those who hadn’t already had it. This was very encouraging and both clinicians were nearly fully booked. This day went down really well and encourage new members and helped those that were having difficulties linking devices and understanding how the benefits worked.
More fruit month – Also from mid Jan to Mid Feb we introduced more fruit day! One day a week we locked all the crisps, biscuits and fizzy drinks away and replaced this with more healthy options of fruit, nuts and cereals.
Now the warmer months are coming, we are planning a lunch time 30 min walking club, where one group will go at 12 and another at 1 to allow everyone the opportunity to go and we are also looking at many other opportunities across Europe.
Tharina Cronje, CTPI visited a garden centre for the first time the other week and found some inspiration for the next few Vitality Challenges. I found what I thought would be the perfect prizes all in one place and that is how the ideas for the challenges were born. I’m very excited to host these and tell you more about it every week.
Over the next 2 months I’ll be running some challenges for us to all partake in, they will be simple, achievable and fun. Challenges will range from bringing your own lunch, mental health, drinking more water & stepping away from your desk. The challenges are created around the best for your desk article I sent earlier this year and things we can all do at work to be kinder to ourselves, healthier and more effective.
Update of Week 1 Challenge: We had a drink more water challenge at work for a week. Colleagues pledged to drink 4, 6 or 8 glasses of water per day depending on how much they already drank. 20 Colleagues signed up for the challenge and 5 completed their pledges successfully whilst many others starting drinking more water than normal.
Ocado Healthy Breakfast Giveaway Entries
Imo Hamilton & Steffi Thomas, Lawn Tennis Association (LTA)In January, Steffi Thomas and I, as the LTA Vitality Champions, launched our Vitality Champ plan for 2018. To introduce ourselves and our plan, we spoke at a company-wide meeting to 300 members of staff. We used the letters of 'Vitality' as the basis of our presentation, with each letter representing a different strand of our plan to encourage colleagues to release their inner champ spirit! Since then, we have created several initiatives which run on a weekly, monthly, or ad-hoc basis.
Running/Walking Club Every Wednesday lunchtime we set off into Richmond Park with a group of walkers and runners for a 4-5km run or 45 minute walk. Come rain or shine (or snow!) we've had a group getting out almost every week since we've launched, and we now have a regular group of about 15 colleagues who attend every week.
Tennis Tournament Twenty-four members of staff took part in a friendly doubles tennis tournament after work one evening. Each player played four short sets and played with a different partner every match, hoping to win the bottles of wine and cans of tennis balls which we had for prizes, available to the highest scoring men and women. The event was a huge success, with a second tournament scheduled for after Easter.
Lunchtime HIIT session This has easily been our most successful and popular event, with 30 staff members attending a lunchtime HIIT session, ran by a member of staff who is a qualified personal trainer. We did two rounds of ten stations, finishing off with an (optional!) cardio sprint blast. Surprisingly nearly everyone joined in the final cardio blast, with everyone hoping to improve for next month's session. Everyone who attended received a mini Dove deodorant and we've had several requests for another session. We are now planning to hold one session every month.
Massage sessions Twice a month, we have arranged for a colleague to hold lunchtime sports massage sessions. As a qualified sports massage therapist, Charlotte offers colleagues the opportunity to book in for 10, 15, or 30 minute neck and shoulder massages. They provide a great way to get away from your desk and de-stress. So far 24 colleagues have benefited, with a growing waiting list.
Cinema Trip using our free cinema tickets earned through Vitality, a group of eight colleagues visited the cinema one Friday evening, having hit their step targets and earned their points! In addition to this, we have the following upcoming events:
Charity Walk & Run On 17th May, as part of Mental Health awareness week, we are hoping to hold a 5km walk and 10km run around Richmond Park. We are still in the planning stages, but we are thinking of charging all colleagues £5 to participate, and donating all money to a Mental Health awareness charity.
Rounders Tournament We have a set of rounders posts which we will be putting to use (when the weather improves!) in June. The aim is to get a group of LTA staff playing in a friendly rounders match against a team of tennis volunteers in line with National Volunteers' Week. We'd love to win the healthy breakfast as we would particularly like to thank the members of staff who have given up their time for free and shared their expertise in order to help us run the above events. We feel it would be a great way to thank them, and perhaps encourage them to help us again in the future! We'd also like to invite some of the staff who have been the most dedicated attendees of our events. There are some people who attend running club in all weathers, and some who are yet to miss an event. We hope this would be the perfect way to reward them. So far Steffi and I have had a fantastic time organising these events, and are really enjoying encouraging everyone to be healthier and happier. If you would like to see them, we also have photos from most of the events so that you can see us in action! We look forward to hearing from you.
Aurore Moineau, Lactalis MclellandWe have organised nutrition and active workshops, we have published all recipes we have received from the newsletters, we have organised step challenges.
Giorgia Pochetti, GapI have organised healthy breakfast events based on nutritional suggestions from the VC newsletter as well as starting Feel Good Monday (free fruit on reception the first Monday of the month); I have used my freebies (the tracker, voucher and other bits) for internal wellness competitions; I have set up a little area next to my desk in case people would like to come and chat with me about ways to incorporate wellness in their lives; I am about to launch a calendar of activities for April Stress Awareness month which include free mindfulness workshops, useful leaflets, yoga classes and more; I have also signed our company up to a Step Challenge in February, which led to a dramatic increase in members' physical activity (we walked over 131 million steps!) - many people went from bronze to silver for their first time since they joined the insurance as well as shifted people mindset about daily movements.
Michelle Gallop, Hatch Mansfield Agencies LtdAs Vitality Champ I have set up a weekly lunchtime walk group. We go out all weather for 30 to 40-min walks which have improved the mood of the office and made us more productive. We have also just finished a 30-day wall sit challenge and are currently organising a Champneys spa day.
Nicola Jones, dunnhumbyAfter becoming a Vitality Champion last November I decided to set up a dunnhumby 'Well at Work' team, inviting a few others across the company to get involved in promoting wellness in the workplace. With the help of this team I organised a January Wellness Week which included a week of fun activities from competitions and seminars to fitness classes and health checks. We also distributed over 2000 healthy samples to our employees and re-launched all of our dh sports clubs.
Following the event we received a massive amount of positive feedback and requests to repeat the activities and also went on to launch our official dunnhumby running club 'runnhumby' who now meet regularly twice a week without fail! We also saw an increase in people signing up online to earn Vitality points and increase their points status which has led to some healthy team (& individual) Vitality status competitions! After the success of this event we now have a full year's plan of wellness activities with the intention to keep motivating our employees throughout the year to stay healthy both physically and mentally. This plan includes a Wellness theme for every month of the year that links in with various UK sporting activities and charity events such as the Wimbledon Championships (with which we hope to set up a dh tennis club) and Stand up to Cancer (in which we are planning a healthy bake sale for charity).
Finally our Vitality Champs of the month competition (also launched after Wellness week) receives regular nominations and interest, further demonstrating the extent that people are beginning to change their attitudes to health & wellness in the company! I'm really proud of these achievements and the changes we've seen in the company as a result and I look forward to taking this even further forward in 2018 and beyond!
Tracie Smith, Afton ChemicalArranging healthy eating recipes comps, offering drop-in sessions for information.
Anwen Edwards, ConvaTecIn January 2018 I set up a Couch 2 5K challenge for employees at ConvaTec. We ran the group through a dedicated Facebook page and had 30+ employees sign up. The challenge culminated in all of us attending parkrun in Chester on Saturday 24th March. We wore Vitality and ConvaTec branded T-Shirts and we were even joined by our colleagues from Vitality - Claire Blain with Raffa the Dog, and Nicci Dennis. It was a fantastic day with some individuals running parkrun for the first time, some walking and someone even got a new PB! Well done ConvaTec/Vitality!
Tess Tucker, Paul SmithMy PSL ‘ Champ’ nomination for March goes to more than one person. It goes to a group of ladies who are taking on a walking challenge. Margaret, Kim and Melanie are walking Hadrian’s wall, all 15 miles of it, for the British Heart Foundation. It is a very worthy cause so please look at their ‘Just Giving' page for their personal stories and to donate if you would like to. The ladies have been training hard for the 15-mile challenge. They have been meeting at weekends to do circuits of the local parks. One of the ladies has even started walking to and from work, to get her miles in. So I’d like to wish them well for their event. You’ll all be great!
Michelle Gallop, HatchI would like to give a massive cheer to Matt Allan who very bravely took up running in December 2017 following a Vitality presentation we gave our employees. Matt has embraced his new passion to run, regularly taking part in his local parkrun and completing a 10K in a fantastic time of just under an hour. He is loving his new Apple watch and enjoying the benefits of a smaller waistline and feeling fitter and healthier. His next challenge is a 10-mile run at the end of March which I am sure he will smash.
Kate McDermott, Trowers
This month our Champs Cheer goes to Judith Lee-Scott, HR Manager. Judith has only recently joined Vitality and has very quickly managed to increase her status. She is determined to lower her vitality age and is regularly completing back – to – back fitness classes each evening. Judith has been opting to bring in her own lunch so she can ensure it is healthy and delicious. Judith says she feels fantastic from making these changes.
Tess Tucker, Paul SmithMy 'February' PSL Champ this month is Louise Roberts, from Nottingham. She has always been active, throughout her life, going to the gym and doing Karate to a high level but wanted a new challenge for 2018. She joined Ilkeston joggers, on her own, as she wanted to try and do the 'couch to 5K' programme they were doing. Louise joined the club on January the 6th and signed up for the 8 week challenge. She joined with a further 84 runners, which, the following week, depleted to 44 runners. She signed up to parkrun and set the date as 2nd of March to do the 5k run. Unfortunately, due to the snow and ice, this date has been postponed to this Saturday, 10th March. Louise says she loves the feeling of freedom running gives to her and is looking forward to achieving her goal this coming weekend. Hope you achieve the 5k in the time you have set yourself Louise. Keep enjoying getting out there.
Tharina Cronjé, Right ManagementI would like to give a huge cheer to four of my colleagues.
I recently challenged colleagues to boost their points to the next status before the renewal of our policy in January.
Katie Young boosted her points from 8 to 924 by doing all her health and fitness checks and synching her FitBit.
Anja Walser reached Platinum and beat me in our inter-competition as she reached Platinum first.
Lea-Anne Breeze increased her points with 573 and will certainly reach Silver before the end of December.
Grace Tyrrell increased her points balance with a record amount of 1056 and went from Silver to Platinum! She completed all her health checks and are achieving maximum activity points every week as she loves running.
Like mum always say, where there is a will, there is a way! Well done Everyone! Keep up the good work.
Paul Smith, Tess Tucker
January has been a busy month at Paul Smith Ltd. Several people, including myself, were successful in doing ‘Dry January’. Difficult at first but enjoyed the whole process once the first week was out of the way. A few people have begun a gym membership and are enjoying the benefits of exercise.
My PSL ‘Champ’ for January is Richard Maver who works in our London office. He has been doing fantastic work, over the past few months, keeping himself fit and healthy! Richie stopped smoking just over a year ago and since then has completely changed his lifestyle. He is up and out of the house at 5am Monday to Friday, he runs to the gym for his workout, runs home and then once ready for work, he walks to work and is covering 25-30 km every single day, together with eating very healthy and avoiding all processed foods. Keep up the amazing work Richie!
A very deserved nomination for the start of 2018!
Liz and Aurore, Lactalis
In December we provided a Food for the Mind workshop for members of Vitality. The workshop educated employees about brain boosting nutrients as well as mind melters. We learnt about which foods are rich sources of the various different nutrients and how we can incorporate them into our daily diets. We planned and shared some options for breakfast, lunch/dinner and snacks and made some goals for what we will reduce and increase in our diets based on what we learnt. It was very good and informative, and everyone who attended said they would try and implement changes to their diet/lifestyle. The feedback was positive and as people are getting more concerned about healthy diets and stress this provided them with a basis to work on.
In February we won the physical workshop Don’t Skip a Beat. Everyone was very excited about it. This workshop helped us to understand more about our heart rate and how we can use this to exercise more effectively. We measured our resting heart rate and did some small exercises to see the effect on our heart rate. We learnt about the different heart rate zones and were able to calculate what our heart rate would be for each of these zones using the HRR formula. It was good as we got to learn about what the numbers on our trackers/Apple watch mean and how to use them or better understand how they affect our health. We thought about how we should exercise in a mix of different zones to give our heart the best workout throughout the week.
Both workshops were well received and insightful and they provided a good mix of information on diet and exercise.
Paul Smith, Tess Tucker
It’s been another quiet month this month, with not much feedback from staff. I did have some comments that about the recipes, they have been tried, tested and enjoyed by some staff here.
My November PSL ‘champ’, this month is Maria Filecca who puts ‘Strictly come dancing’ to shame…!
She has been doing Salsa dancing, also the Jive, Waltz and Bacchata, for the past six years. She regularly goes to dance lessons, once or twice a week, and often travels to big social events to take part in dance weekends away. Maria has been to Barcelona and Portugal on these weekends away. She has just taken on a new challenge of learning the ‘Modern Jive’ and is thoroughly enjoying herself. She says how good it makes you feel, keeps you fit and is fun and sociable. Maria is looking forward to, hopefully, going away next year to Scarborough, with her new found skills of the ‘modern Jive’. Keep up the good work and keep on dancing Maria…
Merry Christmas to you all at Vitality and Happy new, healthy year.
Carly Bedwell, Gilead
The Gilead Champs Cheer this month goes to all the Holborn employees who participated in the World AIDS Day Rowathon. The Holborn office held a sponsored Rowathon to raise money for the National AIDS Trust and to raise awareness of HIV.
We had someone rowing on each of the four hired rowers from 9.30am - 4.00pm on Friday 1st December. We had lots of people taking part for varying amounts of time. The atmosphere was great, cheering each other on and making sure we successfully completed the day.
We managed to row over 300km (nearly the length of the Thames!) and raise an amazing £1200!!
Liz and Aurore, Lactalis McLelland Limited
Congratulations to Angela Barnett, Julie Eyles & Helen Gartland
On Saturday October 14th 2017, Angela, Julie and Helen (and their husbands) completed the Memory Walk for Alzheimer's Society at the Olympic Park in London.
As our company’s chosen Charity it is important to everyone, especially as we all know someone who is affected by dementia.
The team did an amazing job in organising and completing the walk as well as raising over £700 for this amazing charity.
Well done to you guys.
Tess Tucker - Paul Smith Ltd
My nominated ‘Champ’ for October is Emma McPetrie who works in our Nottingham office. She is going to do a ‘Firewalk’ for Maggie’s Centres.
She says …
“So, I can't bake, I can't run a marathon.... yet! and I am certainly not up to jumping out of a plane.... so here I am walking on fire, the reason is to raise money for Maggie’s, Nottingham and here is why....
From my diagnosis of breast cancer in February this year, during my treatment and now after my all clear, Maggie’s has been and will always be such a fundamental part in my journey.Maggie’s provides such heartfelt support, for all cancer sufferers & families affected by cancer. The kitchen table is always full of goodies, the coffee is always readily available and fundamentally there is always a smile and if necessary a hug to greet you at the door.
Someone once said to me, the steps down to the kitchen table at Maggie’s are, initially, the hardest steps you will take, but the most worthwhile steps you will ever take in your journey. They were possibly the most important steps I have taken over the past few months coping with cancer. I learnt to relax during the relaxation classes, I was taught Tai Chi, and the most enjoyable part of the past few months... I learnt to draw and paint again, something I never had time for, never allowed myself to have the time to just sit and paint, now after weekly sessions with Joolz at the expressive art class, I have found time and love every minute of it.
At Maggie’s, I have met amazing, brave, funny, loving people who I can now call my friends. Thank you Maggie’s for making my journey just that little bit easier.”
I know it isn’t achieving something fantastic physically, but Emma will be testing her mental ability to do this challenge. We all wish her luck, and you never know, she could be running a marathon one day in the future.
Kate McDermott, Trowers and Hamlins
Our Champs Cheer this month goes to Lydia Jason-Ryan and Tracey Fisher in our Exeter office. Both of whom have recently to increase their Vitality status from Bronze to Silver.
Tracey recently had a major operation and increasing her mobility has played a huge part in her recovery. Whilst Tracey recognises she still has a way to go, she is enjoying the benefits of her Silver status and is hoping to make changes that will benefit her and her family.
Lydia signed up for Vitality but didn't really know what to do with it. Lydia walks all the time but her steps were not recorded properly as she doesn't always carry her phone. After a whistle-stop tour from Kate, Lydia bought herself an activity tracker and now regularly achieves 12,500 steps and loves her Starbucks reward.
Andrew Roast, Vitality
As part of one of my recent Champ emails out to the office, I posted a competition to win some branded salad shakers. All my colleagues had to do was to post a picture of a health lunch they’d made on our internal Facebook page. We had some great entries, all of them looking very tasty. I really think it helped motivate people to bring in a nutritious and energising lunch option, and those pics on the Facebook page would have inspired more people to give it a try…and added bonus!
I chose the winning lunches because of various reasons, one because it was colourful, unusual (including mango in their salad!) and added a strawberry desert. Another because it incorporated leftovers so showed that a healthy lunch could be money saving at the same time….and was a Thai green curry, yum yum! I also had entries using low fat alternative dressings and sauces, and ones that were simple & filling, showing how quick and easy doing a healthy lunch could be.
Overall I think it was a great idea, and I think it could certainly inspire people in any office, as well as sparking some good conversation around food…..and friendly rivalry and the photo front!
Lindsey Passaic, Vitality
In September we launched a lunchtime run club. The club meets every Friday at 12.30pm and is open to all abilities and paces—we say the more the merrier. Our aim is to get fresh air, sweat and get our hearts pumping, but most importantly to enjoy each other’s company.
Prior to starting the club, we sent out a survey to find out who would be interested, what pace they run and if they’d be willing to lead a run. In this way, we were able to recruit a few run leaders so the burden of leading the runs wouldn’t fall on one person. To remind staff about the runs, we send out an Outlook invite on the first of each month with all of the upcoming run dates. We’ve also set-up the invites with a day-before reminder so that staff are prompted to bring in their kit. Since emails are easily ignored, we also post flyers in the common spaces and do desk drops to encourage staff to join in.
To boost participation even more, we incentivised run club by providing all participants with ‘loyalty’ cards that get stamped after every run completed. For the first, third, sixth and ninth runs a staff member joins, they receive a small reward. These little rewards put a smile on peoples’ faces and encourage them to come back for another run. Something a tiny as a protein bar has proved to be a good motivator!
Being consistent about the day and time of runs, pulling participation from across the business and implementing a rewards program have really helped the success of the run club. Now there’s a buzz in our office and we have a growing group of lunchtime runners!
Tharina Cronje, CTP
My Vitality Cheer goes to my colleague, Steph Fearnley.
- She set herself a Summer Goal which was
- To run twice a week for at least 30 minutes
- To run once a week for 60-90 minutes.
- To reduce mile time to average 10 mile for up to 3 miles. Alongside this and to assist this to eat healthy to in turn assist in reduction of weight.
This is what she has achieved so far; she runs at least twice a week for the 30 mins then longer at weekend and also the 3 miles on 30 mins. been doing some 10k runs as well and am doing the great south run 10 mile sat the end of October.
Steph’s Vitality Age is also the same as her real age which I personally think is a huge achievement.
Tess Tucker, Paul Smith Ltd
My nominated PSL ‘Champ’ this month is Ryan Walton. Approximately 8 weeks ago Ryan was involved in a cycling accident where he fractured both elbows, he was back on his bike as soon as he could and he also took part in the Cycle to Work Day. Well done Ryan, pure dedication to your cycling!
Liz and Aurore, Lactalis McLelland Limited
Congratulations to Melodie Greenwell for climbing Ben Nevis!
Every year or so I like to set myself a challenge whilst trying to raise money for good causes. I have an extensive list of personal goals that take me out of my comfort zone! Key achievements so far; London Marathon, parachute jump and abseiling down a 300ft glass building. Ben Nevis has been on that list for some time and I thought it wouldn’t be too difficult. People kept telling me not to underestimate it and be prepared! Unfortunately I hadn’t had time to train but my body didn’t let me down! We apparently had the best weather of the year and the views and scenery were stunning. Had it have been wet; the climb would have been far more treacherous and not enjoyable! The ascent went well and I get why you’re asked to bring lots of extra clothing, conditions can change dramatically when you get closer to the top. Unfortunately I slipped on some rocks on the way down, jarring my back and gaining a few cuts and grazes, along with the loss of a toenail! This knocked my confidence quite a bit and relieved to have reached the bottom without any further incidents! For anyone thinking about doing it, I would highly recommend. A positive tick off my list whilst raising over £700 for a brilliant charity. Next year, wing walking…
Kate McDermott, Trowers & Hamlins LLP
The Birmingham office step-challenge went down really well and everyone is excited for the next one. I'm looking to replicate this in our other offices and hope for the same success. Simon won the step challenge with over 15,000 steps on the August bank holiday. The majority of the office took part and it sparked some friendly banter across the office and has seen pockets hosting their own competitions. We are even considering a multi-office challenge.
The last few months we have been focusing on spreading the Vitality word – everyone is more interested in it as we recently had Vitality days in all the UK offices so people have renewed enthusiasm. I've been doing drop ins in all the Regional offices I have been in to try and help people get more engaged with it.
Now the weather has started to change the office have started thinking of weird and wonderful ways to get their steps in. The battle for first to platinum has started and everyone is keen to get there before renewal! Shaan and I are starting lunch time clinics to help get people started, registered on the website and setting up their health assessments. Anything to boost their points before the end of the year.
Debbie Morgan, Bausch + Lomb
Our ‘Champ of the Month’ is John Codd (far right) who will be taking part in the Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon with three other members of our staff, raising money for Fight for Sight. John also encourages staff to run twice a week at lunchtime, where we all try to keep up with him!
Tess Tucker, Paul Smith Ltd
My ‘Champs cheer’ this month is for an employee at Paul Smith in Nottingham. She started doing the ‘couch to 5k’ with her daughter a month ago and is really enjoying it. She has never run before so is taking her time and enjoying the new experience. So, well done to Cathryn Rae, keep on trying and I’m sure you will achieve your goal.
Carly Bedwell, Gilead
Early this month we awarded our Champs Cheer to everyone who completed the J.P.Morgan Corporate Challenge. We had a great turn out from all 3 of the Gilead sites. It was a very hot evening but everyone did amazing. It was a great event to incorporate people of all abilities. We had people who are ‘natural’ runners who could race round very quickly, people who had never run before who managed to keep running the whole way and others who wanted to take it as a brisk walk. It was great to see so many people getting active on a lovely summers evening.
Tess Tucker, Paul Smith Ltd
My ‘Champ of the month’ this month is Lisa Starr from our Nottingham office. She took part in the ‘Race-for-life’ at Clumber park on the 4th of July. She did the event with her Sister-in-Law and 13 year old daughter in memory of a family member and another relative who is currently suffering from Cancer. They mainly walked the 5K course but Lisa says her daughter was eager to get running, maybe next year! Lisa raised £170 herself for the charity and her Sister-in-law made it up to £500 with some sponsorship from the company she works for.
Well done Lisa, and family, a fantastic cause and achievement.
Simon Booth, Weight Watchers
This month I have award our GM, Chris with the Champ Cheer. As an organisation we launched our #ww5kmyway which was all about getting our members more active, completing a 5K in any way shape or form they liked over 1 weekend in July.
Chris, as always, led the way and because of it took up running, something that he has never done before and in preparation for the event, used the couch to 5K app and put together a video of his time training for all employees to see. Since this Chris has truly got the running bug and is now starting to look at pushing his distance to get further.
Also in July we held our office and field management team sports day event. I took the opportunity to set up a stall and invited people over to find out how to get more out of their Vitality insurance. Employees have since booked in for their health assessments, synched activity devices and as a consequence are now receiving their rewards!
Liz and Aurore, Lactalis McLelland
Congratulations to Eleanor Holt & Antonia Skinner for quitting smoking
Why did they decide to stop smoking?
Eleanor said: “On the 26th June this year I decided to stop smoking for good. There were many reasons for my decision, some more obvious than others like my health, and to save money, but also smaller incentives (yet just as important) such as being able to walk for 10 minutes without getting out of breath and wheezing, for my hair and clothes not to stink of smoke, to stop smoking around my friends and family, to not have that awful smokers cough when I woke every morning and to prove to myself that I control my future - I chose life.
Antonia added "There is no benefit to smoking and I got to the point where I was thinking if I don’t stop soon I am going to cause some irreversible damage as I am not getting any younger! I am also very into being healthy and keeping fit so smoking was just counteracting all the hard work!”
Challenges they have experienced.
Eleanor said “Ok so I’m not going to lie, quitting smoking was tough…. I decided to go cold turkey as I just wanted to get rid of all the rubbish and noxious chemicals inside my body asap! So going from 15 cigarettes a day to 0 was so scary! So I downloaded a NHS Smoke Free app which was a godsend. I checked it everyday and looked forward to receiving my ‘new reward badge’, it sounds cheesy but it was the daily incentive I needed. Some reward badges did shock me, like on 23rd day of not smoking I received my “saved 6 days” badge which meant I added 6 days to my life… Yes over the first few days I was rather ratty, especially when driving – I did puff on my 0% nicotine vape at the beginning, especially in the car, but I puffed on it so much that I felt like I was in an 80s music video all the time! So only after 4 days I stopped vaping too. Had terrible cough over the first few days as well, it pretty much turned into a horrid cold – but it was just my body’s way of detoxing. Even though I did face the above challenges (including ones that I have not mentioned) I can proudly say I did not (and have not) had a cigarette since my decision on 26th June. Although at times I was really tempted!”
Antonia said “It was probably one of the hardest things I have ever done but I got through the cravings by just thinking ‘this feeling isn’t going to last forever’, which of cause it doesn’t and smoking rarely crosses my mind now. “
How has it benefited their health?Eleanor added “Where do I start?! What a difference 5 weeks of not smoking has made to my health….! My sense of smell has improved, my breathing has completely changed for the better and my circulation is at its best because my
lungs are processing more oxygen around my body. I have started spin classes at the gym, am going 3 to 4 times a week – and I love it! I would never been able to do these classes when I smoked! Food tastes better because the nerve endings on my tongue have now fully repaired, my skin, teeth and hair look healthier and I have so much more energy! And to top it all off I have saved to date £223. I would recommend everyone that smokes to stop! It is super hard, but the benefits of stopping far outweigh the side effects of smoking - I couldn’t have done this without the support of my friends, family and co workers.
Antonia finished with “There are too many health benefits to mention, however I ran a marathon in April which I know would have been almost impossible if I was still a smoker! Advice to people wanting to quit – there will never be an ideal time, it’s easy to make excuses that you have an occasion coming up when you will want to smoke!
Take one day at a time and try not to think too much about it or too far ahead and just focus on not having a cigarette that day!”
Liz and Aurore, Lactalis McLelland Limited
In June, it was Walk Over Cancer campaign so we decided to challenge employees to walk 10,000 steps a day throughout the month. Even though some people said they would not be able to achieve the target they joined in to participate. Darryl was our winner with a whopping 512,081 steps throughout the month, closely followed by Nicky with 465,417 steps. Darryl was not in it for the prize but for improving his personal health so kindly passed the £25 sweatshop voucher to Nicky.
This was a good initiative and people who took place enjoyed it. We were publishing the league table every week so they could see how they positioned themselves against other employees. Hopefully employees will have been inspired by Darryl & Nicky averaging over 15,000 steps per day!
Darryl said on the challenge
“I’m not in it to win a prize, but more because it’s about changing my lifestyle. I got the Fitbit and the app in March, and it’s helped me to gradually do more and more walking. I started with very small changes. Taking long cuts instead of short cuts.. A long cut is to find a longer way to get somewhere to do more steps. 5 minutes more or maybe 15 minutes more. It all counts. Now I’m trying to do a bit of a walk to work (from Gloucester road), a walk around Redhill at lunch time, and a detour back to Gloucester road. On the weekend my family and I are trying to avoid using the car and do more things locally, which is not always easy but working so far.
- Less tiredness (also linked to Fitbit as it tracks my sleep and advised to have the same 40 mins to go to sleep and wake)
- Loss of weight
- Less headaches
Frankly if I can do it – anyone can, as I am not a health nut, I can’t stand gyms. Walking is simple, easy and can be done literally anywhere!”
“I’ve really increased my step count since I bought my Fitbit and make sure I always do my daily 10k steps. Some friends and I have regular step competitions and encourage each other, we’ve also started doing a Saturday morning Park Run followed by brunch as a reward. I play hockey once a week which really helps the step count and also taking the dog for long walks in the sunshine is a great way to get some exercise. I try to go out for a walk around town at lunchtime every day rather than just sitting at my desk. Keeping active makes me feel happier, I have more energy, sleep better and I can reward myself with plenty of treats without feeling guilty!”
As a result, we would like to cheer both Darryl & Nicky this month for their great achievement. Please find attached the Cheer.
Simon Booth, Weight Watchers UK Ltd
My Champ Cheer for this month has gone to one of our Area Managers Mel Pym. I’ve been running drop in clinics in the field for people to come along and see how they can boost their Vitality points and also double check that they are getting as many rewards as possible- setting up their Starbucks accounts etc.
Mel came to one of the clinics and has embraced all aspects of it. Mel is all set up with her fitbit, completed her health reviews and is now happily receiving a free drink and cinema ticket on regular occasions. So has already headed straight up to Silver!
I’m running a few clinics on the office over the next few months and now have a regular spot on our Times out newsletter where I am sharing the different elements of the Vitality programme to others. This month is about Vitality GP. We’re seeing lots if interest from others who haven’t signed up before, so hoping to see an increase in our employees who take this up for 2018.
I on the other hand also signed up for a ½ marathon, really pushing myself to the limits with the training for that! Run takes place on the 3rd September in Cleethorpes.
Tess Tucker, Paul Smith
This month I am doing a ‘champs Cheer’ for Tom Woodhouse who works at Kean Street in London. He completed the Vitality London 10,000 at the end of May. He has done a couple of half marathons and wanted to challenge himself over a shorter, faster distance. He completed the race in 47:30 and enjoyed it so much he is hoping to do another one this year! He also got over excited and entered the London Marathon ballot for 2018!
Well done Tom, keep on running and pushing yourself to keep fit and healthy!
Tharina Cronje, CTP
Since being a Champion, I have introduced myself to my colleagues and hosted 5 webinars about how to get started with Vitality and one face-to-face meeting, over 90 colleagues attended these sessions. I've made myself available for 1:1 support and have facilitated queries.
We have launched a Google + Community where I share tips and initiatives from the newsletter and we also replicate the content on our intranet for another part of the business, this is done on a weekly basis.
June is our Bring your own lunch to work lunch at my work. I've created a star chart, you get a star if you have brought your own lunch in and if it includes at least one thing of red, green or yellow on your plate. About 15 people are involved with this. The other incentive is that it is saving us all money. I have also shared healthy and quickly to make recipes with my colleagues.
On the back of the webinars one of our offices challenged themselves and are walking virtually to each of our 10 offices in the country, 1212 miles in between these offices. Every team member committed to walk 10000 steps a day, they are in week 3 of the challenge and they are over half way already!
Lindsey Passaic, Vitality
This month marked the start of running club at Vitality’s London office. To get the club up and ‘running’, I sent around a short survey to collect information about staff’s favourite time and day to run, running pace and whether anyone would be willing to lead a run. I used the survey responses to pick two days a month to organize lunchtime 5Ks. By sending out a survey I was able assign run leaders and communicate run club dates in advance so that staff could plan their time accordingly. To ensure that no one forgets about the runs, I send Outlook diary invites and post run reminders in common areas. We had a nice group at our first run and everyone’s looking forward to the next 5K around the city.
As the Champion in London and a qualified personal trainer, I also initiated a June fitness program. Instead of trying to organise the classes on my own, I worked with Vitality’s ‘Making a Difference’ committee to capitalise on existing business resource and make the classes as successful as possible. For four weeks this June, a group of staff has been meeting once a week for a 45-minute exercise class. The classes are all about having fun and getting in extra physical activity before heading home for the day. To make the classes as accessible as possible, they’re free, designed for all ability levels, and take place in our office at the end of the day. It’s hard to find an excuse not to join! The classes have been so popular we’re thinking of extending it for the rest of the summer.
As awareness of the Champion role increases, I’m hoping to spearhead initiatives around Vitality’s other health pillars such as nutrition and mental wellbeing. Heading into summer seems like a great time to highlight hydration tips and healthy recipes that keep you cool!
Liz and Aurore, Lactalis McLelland Limited
“Steve has recently decided to sign up and partake in MacMillan’s Longest Day Golf Challenge for 2017 in memory of his friends’ granddad who died of cancer. In order to achieve this challenge, Steve has trained hard over the past few weeks and has achieved an incredible weight loss. Additionally Steve decided to change his diet but did not want to use this word as he thought it was negative, and instead decided to call it a lifestyle change. Both exercise and diet change have improved his health as a result.
Well done, and good luck Steve for the Golf Challenge we know you can do this”
Liz and Aurore, Lactalis McLelland Limited
We were not sure what to expect when we attended the training on 4th April at Vitality London Office and what we would have to do as Champs. However the training day was great. Everyone was friendly and we were all in the same boat. The coaches were great and explained the values of the company, and the speaker was very inspirational. However when we left we were still not 100% sure of what was expected of us as champions as we thought we would have been given more information on our role and how to get people involved back at the office.
Since the training day we have started our Champs journey by setting up a Vitality information page on the business intranet site, so all employees have a point of reference for all things Vitality. The page includes the Members login link, Newsletters, Food of the Month, Getting started in 10 steps, and we plan to include details of any Vitality events such as races going on to encourage people to get active!
As a starting point we also thought it would be useful to ask for feedback directly from the employees, to better understand how they are currently engaging with Vitality and what they would like to see more of to get them even more engaged and excited about Vitality. We therefore set up a short questionnaire and asked employees to give their feedback. We plan on using this feedback to help us decide on future initiatives we will introduce into the business so that everyone can get involved!
We have also asked employees to nominate someone every month for the Champs Cheer, which gets everyone involved and encourages people to make small steps towards improving their health. We have sent a separate email to you with our Champs Cheer for April.
Please find attached a few photos from our Vitality intranet page!