On Thursday 12th April 2018 Lincolnshire Police and Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service held their first joint wellbeing conference.

‘Humans not Machines’ was designed to offer a forum where emergency services workers could attend and discuss the wellbeing initiative so far, as well as celebrate some of its successes to date.

The wellbeing programme initiative started in August 2016 and aims to look after and improve the mental, physical, emotional and spiritual welfare of our staff.

Lincolnshire Police Chief Constable Bill Skelly said: “Wellbeing is very much a part of our everyday in Lincolnshire and we have an ongoing commitment to every member of the Lincolnshire Police family to ensure they know how to access services and have the support they need to protect their wellbeing, I know the Fire Service have also pledged to do the same for their own staff.

“At a time when pressures on staff are increasing and budgets prevent investment, it is crucial that the wellbeing of the workforce is placed at the top of our agenda, I am pleased at what has already been achieved and I am excited at the prospects that the next year provides as we press forward on a range of activities to support everyone’s’ physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health. For me it’s simple: people who feel good about themselves and feel good about their job will do great work. Wellbeing really does matter.”

Mr Skelly is keen that the momentum that was built at the conference is maintained.

“We know from people who attended the conference that there are some key issues – the importance of communication, with the need for clear pathways and accessibility to wellbeing services; knowing where to go to find out more and ensuring you have the information readily available to support your wellbeing ‘toolkit’. We will make these a priority as we go forward with the programme.

“We’re now hearing from many staff that they are feeling more confident in taking about challenges facing them and how to access any help they might need and I’m thrilled that we’re working towards a culture where there’s no stigma around talking about your emotional, physical or psychological health. All emergency services workers do a job that is not only unusual but also incredibly important and we need to ensure the toll that takes on them is not too great.”

The conference, which was held at the Everyday Champions Centre in Newark, had interactive sessions as well as guest speakers.

Dr Tom Waller DC is an international key note speaker on wellbeing, health and motivation. He revealed that the average life expectancy of a shift worker is 65 years and gave simple, practical advice on how to combat this, such as breaking up periods of sitting with briefly standing up. He explained: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”

A standing ovation followed Steve Judge’s presentation.  Former British, European and World Champion in the sport of ParaTriathlon, he took delegates on an inspiring journey through his rehabilitation following a near fatal RTC, sharing how he dealt with the prospect of never walking again. He explained the tools, mottos and mantras he created to continue on his path. He urged the audience not to lean on their excuses but to “turn excuses into challenges.” His approach to the devastating circumstances he faced, and his advice to delegates was: “Don’t change the goal, change the plan.”

Responsible for the National Police Wellbeing Service, Deputy Chief Constable Sunita Gamblin, QPM pointed out that 50% of workplace wellbeing comes down to first line management.  She asked: “If staff are your biggest asset, can you afford not to look after them?” DCC Gamblin was joined by Inspector Julie Rawsthorne, Delivery Lead for the National Police Wellbeing Service.

You can find out more about Lincolnshire’s Wellbeing activity through their website