I’m feeling happy to see my designs appearing on social media to promote a workplace wellbeing initiative launched by Somerset County Council’s Public Health team and delivered by New Leaf Life Design.
The project provides FREE training opportunities for SMEs in a specific range of sectors, to develop their understanding of mental health and wellbeing in order to better support themselves and those in their employment. The project targets those most impacted by Covid, whether through contracting the virus, the impact of lockdowns or the resulting recession – one in five small businesses has seen a 70% decrease in income!!
This project is an amazing opportunity for SMEs, with a range of FREE courses, even including an online MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID 2 Day Accredited Course! The project asks participants to sign-up to a five-point pledge, and then be added to a Somerset Wellbeing Map, the aspiration being to make Somerset the Centre of Wellbeing to live, work and stay!
Find out more on the New Leaf website, which lists (and links to) the available training courses, provides further resources for each sector, and allows you to sign the pledge. Visit: www.newleaf.uk.com/smewellbeing
Creating a 'Somerset Legacy' in this way is particularly interesting to me, as only yesterday I read about designers leaving the cities and seeking a healthier environment to live and work – the Somerset countryside proving desirable and providing a more relaxed, spacious out-look on life. Within the design for this project, we picked up on the word ‘Somerset’ that translates from its origins as ‘Land of the Summer People’. This refers to the Somerset Levels, which until drained in the 1700s flooded every winter. When the waters receded in the summer months, people would come onto the land to graze animals, only to leave again come the autumn rain. Hundreds of years on, now drained and largely dry (most of the time!) there’s still the sense that this is a wonderful place to ‘get away to’, to take in the light, to be in the sun, to connect with nature, connect with yourself, remember you’re alive, bathe in the mystery of that.
I’m writing this, sitting in my little design studio in the heart of the Somerset Levels right now … the sun is indeed shining, my door is open, I can hear birds singing and bees buzzing. Occasionally I feel the thunder of hooves vibrate under my feet (there are horses running in a field just across the gardens) … I’m definitely not in the ‘Big Smoke’ … how fortunate! Regardless, I can still work on meaningful projects like this one and explore creative design possibilities … such as how each sector icon utilises at its core, the sunshine element from the main logo … a clever visual device (a bridge) to hold everything together.
When I reflect on my own path which led here to this moment, I’m reminded of a significant incident from my time as a young design graduate. Sat in a corporate board room I heard a senior manager answer the question ‘Who will we get to do this?’ by saying ‘Get in a graduate, burn them out, then get another one.’ (!!) Whilst our physical environment plays an important role in our wellbeing, it is, more importantly, the mental environment we create for each other that determines our individual reality. The better adept we are to support each other, to want the best for each other, to nurture the best within each other, the more successful we will all be, together!
It strikes me that any engagement that supports the mental wellbeing of individuals, especially in the workplace, is key to transforming our culture of conflict into a culture of kindness, which is the ultimate legacy towards which we, through our businesses, can all play a part.
To find out more and get involved go to: www.newleaf.uk.com/smewellbeing