Mental health is a priority at Cranswick

“It’s encouraging to see community awareness of mental health growing and it’s important for me to make sure mental health and wellness is a priority for the entire Cranswick Country Foods team in Ballymena as well as the local community.

Every business is people first and I believe that when it comes to the long term and sustainability, caring for people and the community is just as important as reducing our impact on the environment.

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This is both as a professional in a leadership role and as a person who thinks about my own friends and family.

Tony Demain, director of Cranswick Country Foods, Ballymena

We have a responsibility to our own generation, and to the generation of our children, to do everything we can to improve our lifestyle and business practices so that they have the opportunity to build a healthy and fulfilling life.

It is critical that employers continue to consider what they are already doing in practice to support mental wellbeing and what more can be done in the future, whether for the workforce they are directly responsible for or the wider community.

Support for those around us can take many forms.

From listening during or after work to fundraising efforts to support charitable work, as well as offering more formal mental health support. In October 2020, we introduced our Pastoral Support Counselor, who is already a local pastor and is now available specifically for our staff to speak with at any time.

The site also has four mental health first responders and three mental health champions who have volunteered from the team.

This provides not only tangible support, but also a clear message that mental health is important and must remain at the forefront.

Cranswick also supports a wide range of initiatives in the Ballymena area, some of which focus specifically on mental health, such as team members raising over £6,000 this year for Action Mental Health.

Along with this, supporting food banks and a host of other organizations and groups, from schools to churches to football teams, helps strengthen communities and hopefully a greater sense of support.

More broadly, it’s also important to try to create a culture where people can be happy and satisfied with their work, and where employers offer help where needed but don’t interfere.

Honesty and trust are important to create and maintain.

I am grateful for my own experience, which has enabled me to have honest and open conversations with my colleagues and those to whom I report,

recognize that we can all learn from our mistakes.

My vision is to make sure this spirit flourishes throughout the team. Listening to people’s ideas and ambitions, and investing time and money in helping teams grow is very important.

Watching people progress is one of the most rewarding parts of my role.”

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