Health and wellbeing on agenda at Cala subcontractor seminar

Health and wellbeing on agenda at Cala subcontractor seminar

The importance of emotional wellbeing for construction workers in the North East was the focus of a recent Cala Homes Subcontractor Seminar.

The ‘Foundations for Wellbeing’ event, which took place at the Village Hotel in Aberdeen on 4th November, saw over 100 attendees, including Cala employees and subcontractor partners, learn more about psychological wellbeing.

The event focussed on some of the practices in place to support the teams across all of Cala’s Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire developments and offices, including a Mental Health First Aider programme and ‘lunch and learn’ sessions with the housebuilder’s charity partner, Samaritans.

Supporting mental health is a major focus for Cala. This seminar is part of an overall approach to challenge stereotypes within the construction industry around emotional wellbeing. Most recently, teams across the group were encouraged to take time out and chat about a range of men’s health topics during Men’s Health Awareness month. The business aims to be a leader in the sector when it comes to support for both employees and subcontractor partners, with Cala’s Wellbeing Action Plan including more than 100 trained mental health first aiders across the business, plus wellbeing webinars, smarter working approaches, leadership development and role modelling.

Health and wellbeing on agenda at Cala subcontractor seminar

The Aberdeen event was hosted by broadcaster and former STV presenter Kirsten Gove and featured a variety of guest speakers, including Cala Homes (North) managing director Mike Naysmith, trained mental health first aiders from within the Cala team and representatives from Samaritans and men’s suicide prevention charity Andy’s Man Club.

The seminar also included updates on general site health and safety, awards for Subcontractor of the Year and Site Safety and the announcement of a Cala fundraising walking challenge in Aberdeen next year in support of Samaritans.

Cala has partnered with Samaritans since 2020, fundraising and donating more than £450,000 so far to support the charity’s vital work. Samaritans has provided listening and emotional resilience training to help equip Cala’s 1,200 employees with the skills to take care of their own mental health, as well as being more aware of their co-workers’ emotional wellbeing.

At events like the Subcontractors Seminar, Samaritans deliver talks encouraging Cala site teams and subcontractors to look out for each other, how to recognise signs and symptoms, and provide tips for active listening, as well as highlighting the importance of open conversations around mental health.

Health and wellbeing on agenda at Cala subcontractor seminar

Steve Jarvie, construction director at Cala Homes (North) and organiser of the Subcontractor Seminar, said: “I’m thrilled to have been able to welcome so many faces from across the North East construction sector to our Foundations for Wellbeing seminar.

“Highlighting the importance of emotional wellbeing in our industry and supporting our teams and partners when it comes to mental health is so important for Cala.

“One of the most high-risk groups for suicide is middle-aged men, and the risk is significantly higher than the national UK average for males who work in the construction sector, so this is an issue that really matters to us as a business.

“Through the support systems in place at Cala Homes for both our employees and subcontractors, our partnerships with Samaritans and Andy’s Man Club, and other initiatives such as Mental Health First Aid training, all of which were discussed at our seminar, we aim to break down stigmas and make working within construction a safer environment for all.”

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