From Erith to Enfield bakers union raises awareness of Mental Health

BFAWU Learning Services Project Worker Carol Hillaby was kept busy this March working with employers and workers to run Mental Health Awareness days in two large bakeries in London.

BFAWU Mental Health course

Carol covers the unions Southern Region and set up event at the Hovis factory in Erith and Warburtons factory in Enfield.

The first event was held on the 11th March at the Hovis factory in South East London with 14 people attending from across the Erith site. The day was run by Chesterfield College by tutor Jo Gray.

Carol said:

The day started quietly, as most courses do, with Jo doing most of the talking, taking us through what Mental Ill Health is but it soon warmed up with people asking questions and talking about their own experiences. It was great to see people nodding along and pitching in, after all 1 in 4 people will experience some sort of Mental Ill Health or know of someone who has.”

The day included discussions around the scenarios that Jo handed out and were very informative, at the end of the day, Jo sent the course lists to some of the attendee’s because they want to carry this day on with courses and I’m sure they will."

Pat Kelly, Hovis employee and EC member BFAWU said:

This was a good and enlightening day and I really enjoyed it.  It would be good if we can get at least 1 more day to highlight this across the site.”

Steve Finn, Regional Organiser BFAWU also attended and took part and he said:

The Mental Health Awareness Day” that was delivered by Jo Gray, from Chesterfield College was very informative, well presented, and had first class content.  It was easy to follow and an eye opener to say the least. Having attended the course with some knowledge of the subject, I clearly came out with a lot more. I would recommend this course without any hesitation.”

Donna Fordham, Training Coordinator, Hovis Erith said:

I really enjoyed the day, Jo tackled a very hard subject and made it fun but Informative. I’m looking forward to taking it further by signing up to the course.”

The following week Carol travelled north of the river to Enfield to hold another Awareness Day on the 21st March with 16 people attending from various Warburton’s sites across the South: Enfield, Paddock Wood and Bognor.

Once again tutor Jo from Chesterfield College facilitated an informative day of information, scenarios’ and discussions that encouraged more people to follow up the day with a full course.

Carol said:

At the end of Enfield day 4 people signed up for the Mental Health Awareness course and, along with the Branch Secretary Mandy Ambrose, we spoke to the site manager about arranging another day. He was all for this as he had missed it due to other commitments and really would like to attend.”

Mandy Ambrose, Warburtons employee and EC member BFAWU said:

This was a good and informative day and I really enjoyed it.  It would be good if we can have at least 1 more day to highlight this across the sites. The human mind is a very powerful tool and the human race are very complex creatures.”

Valilis Nicoluzos, Warburtons Manufacturing Manager said:

The feedback I have had is that the day was a very informative and interesting course and that all who attended had a far better understanding of what Mental Health is about and how prevalent it is in our society today. Being able to see and understand the sign of Mental Health issues is powerful and will ensure that our managers are better prepared to spot and deal with these challenges in the right way.”

Both events were a huge success and just the start. Carol is hoping to run other awareness day’s, which could include other Hovis sites in the South and a return trip to Warbuton’s in Enfield.