By Sarah Walker
When Gestamp recently celebrated its 75th anniversary, it was a proud moment in which senior leaders at the firm agreed how integral the business had become to the local community.
For that reason, they were keen to give back to the area where they have developed a successful business – and nowhere is this more apparent than in Gestamp’s recently opened Health and Wellbeing centre for staff and their families.
“We are at the start of our journey offering a strong health and wellbeing service – initially to our own workforce,” says Paul James, head of the training, research and wellbeing facility at the plant.
“We’ve teamed up with a medical partner called Recovery4Life who take a modern approach to medical support in the workplace – offering high quality healthcare and services to the employer and employees.
“We’ve just opened stage one of our Wellbeing Facility, which has a welcoming new reception, a medical room and occupational health service room.
“Phase two will include a large wellbeing communal area, which can also be divided for smaller group work, which will help us further improve our health and wellbeing offering to staff.
“In time we envisage the facility eventually offering services such as yoga and mindfulness classes, acupuncture and physiotherapy, as well as practical training to help with muscular skeletal preventative measures at work and healthy eating ideas during the cost-of-living crisis.”
Gestamp have this facility built away from the main plants, which they hope will help staff feel relaxed and welcoming at all times.
Paul adds: “Staff have already provided positive feedback on the new facility and the Recovery4life team.
“We’ve had feedback from people using the facility already and they have been really impressed, with the environment but more importantly the physical and mental health initiatives we have offered.”
Paul recognises that this will help Gestamp be seen as an employer of choice in the local area – but says the decision to invest in the workforce in this way was also the right thing to do.
“Creating this facility is our recognition that workforce’s require a modern facility and medical staff to help support them through their working career with Gestamp,” he says.
“Now, going forward, we have got a space where we can put some creative, progressive interventions in place.”
The longer term vision for Gestamp is to talk to other businesses on Aycliffe Business Park and wider local area, about their “dedicated health centre”, to open it up to other employers’ workforces and make an even bigger positive impact on the local community.
Paul explains: “We want to be known for providing exceptional health and wellbeing support to our own staff and also become a health hub for the business park and we plan to talk to employers who operate here, so that we can support them to offer the same services to their employees.
“We want Gestamp to offer a whole range of health and wellbeing services to local employees.”
He adds that, ultimately, Gestamp wants this health and wellbeing venture to support community engagement and health improvement in the local communities.
“It’s a big project and we’re right at the start of the journey, but we are fully committed to moving forward to deliver to our local people,” adds Paul.
“Newton Aycliffe is a relatively new town and we’ve been central to its development and have supported the local community from a jobs point of view for a number of years now.
“We are one of the biggest employers in the area, employing more than 1,200 people and the majority of our staff live within five miles of the plant.
“We are giving back to our staff and taking care of our employees and their families and we believe this will pay dividends over the long term.”
For more information, email [email protected].
Pictured above: Gestamp wellbeing lead Alastair Waugh (right) takes a break with Paul James in Gestamp’s new wellbeing facility.