Companies are urged to invest in staff health

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FIRMS who spend a little on staff health and wellbeing could see huge benefits, the organisers of a special forum believe.

Carole Baker, of the Bury St Edmunds social enterprise The Self Centre, and Nicky Hunter, from Bury Physio, inspired the town’s Chamber of Commerce to hold its first health and wellbeing forum.

Ms Baker said the aim was to help employers understand the latest health research and to see what was available in the Bury area to help with their staff’s wellbeing ‘niggles and complaints’.

She added: “It’s not about Carole Baker saying ‘everyone come to Self Centre’. What we’re saying is that there’s a melange of health and wellbeing advice out there and a whole lot of scientific evidence on what works. The company that invests a little on its staff can reap the benefits of better productivity.

“For example, stress and back pain are the biggest reasons for people to be off work and even if people go to work with these problems, they’re not at their best.

“We have a culture in this country of sedentary work, jobs with a lot of computer work or driving. We’ve even come up with a desk yoga programme that you can do at your desk, getting people to stretch and move.

“It costs peanuts. Yoga and pilates have been proven to be better treatments for back pain than drugs.”

She admitted being a ‘little disappointed’ at employers’ responses to the forum and added: “We would like to see the major employers in the town coming to find out what is available.

“If we can find out what their issues are, we can tailor something to suit their needs.”

She urged employers to survey their staff to see what complaints they have problems with and use the forum to find solutions.

The chamber’s inaugural Health and Wellbeing Forum will be at The Hunter Club, Guildhall Street, at 4.30pm on Monday. It is only for members who should email chamber manager Ruth Brady at ruth@burystedmundschamber.co.uk to attend.