Howells hosts mayor during mental health week

From left to right: Tracey Jackson, business development manager for Howells Patent Glazing; Andy Street, mayor of the West Midlands; Debbie Willetts, company secretary at Howells Patent Glazing; Walter Howells, managing director

Howells Patent Glazing welcomed the West Midlands’ mayor, Andy Street to its Black Country factory as part of national Mental Health Awareness Week (from 10 to 16 May 2021). During the mayor’s visit, representatives from the company shared some of the measures that the business has put in place to support the mental health and wellbeing of its employees. This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week focus was on how nature can boost mental and physical health, and reduce feelings of isolation.

The family-run business takes part in the Thrive at Work initiative, a workplace wellbeing programme established by the West Midlands Combined Authority. By promoting health and wellbeing, the scheme benefits employees and the business by boosting productivity and demonstrating that the company is a considerate employer.

Howells signed up to the programme in 2018, implementing action plans to support their employees’ mental health and wellbeing. Despite being based on an industrial estate behind Cradley Heath station, the firm has provided staff with access to two nature trails for workers to visit and switch off from the stresses of everyday life. One of the trails runs along Mousesweet Brook, close to Saltwell Nature Reserve, and is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including green and greater spotted woodpeckers.

Tracey Jackson, business development manager for Howells Patent Glazing, said: “We would like to thank the mayor for taking the time to visit us and for taking an interest in our work and wellbeing programme. We are incredibly proud of our status as a Thrive at Work accredited employer (Bronze Level Award).

“We were also one of the first businesses to engage with the mayor’s mentor initiative, which has certainly been a catalyst for change and progress. Two of our management team, myself included, have since become professionally trained coaches and mentors. This has given us the confidence to change perception, job craft and improve the mental health of our staff; invaluable resources for any small to medium enterprise.”

After his visit, the mayor said: “It is vital we recognise the importance and benefits of good mental health, not only for the individual that may be affected, but also for our wider economic recovery. I made mental health a clear priority in my election manifesto, and I intend to continue to deliver on those promises. Positive mental health is good for the individual and good for the economy – no one should be left behind.

“Howells has clearly demonstrated how it puts the interests of its employees front and centre, in turn creating a workforce that I’m sure is more committed, happy and healthy. And what an inspired idea to reach out to nature to provide its team with that space to break away from their everyday pressures.”