Almost £600,000 of government funding has been awarded to four organisations in the Northwest to bolster innovative schemes that are improving the health of women in the workplace.
Launched in April 2018, the Health and Wellbeing Fund is a joint initiative run by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), NHS England (NHSE), and the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA). A new round of the fund is launched every year and typically runs over three financial years.
The theme of the fund for 2022 to 2025 is women’s reproductive wellbeing in the workplace. Linking in with the development of the new Women’s Health Strategy, this fund aims to support organisations that can provide a holistic support offer to assist women experiencing reproductive health issues – for example, menopause, fertility problems, miscarriage and pregnancy loss, menstrual health and gynecological conditions – to remain in and return to the workplace.
Schemes in the Northwest include increasing accessibility to legal support and resources for employers so they can better support women who are pregnant, recovering from giving birth, returning from maternity leave, or have experienced stillbirth or miscarriage.
In the Northwest, funding was awarded respectively to:
- £187,138 to The Women’s Organisation – which is rolling out a health support package targeting small and medium enterprise employers in England.
- £154,095 to Mind in Greater Manchester – who are improving health outcomes for women and people experiencing reproductive health issues through delivering workplace training.
- £145,913 to Tommy’s – who are helping workplaces understand and meet employees’ needs through pregnancy journeys, including miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth, and other complications.
- £105,607 to Maternity Action – which are supporting better health and employment outcomes for working women who are pregnant
Minister Helen Whately said: “We are supporting women experiencing reproductive health issues – such as pregnancy loss or menopause – to remain in or return to the workplace, through the Health and Wellbeing Fund.
“We have already put women’s health at the top of the agenda by publishing the first-ever Women’s Health Strategy for England, but there’s always more that can be done.
“The contribution that the voluntary, community, and social enterprise sector makes towards improving health and care is invaluable and improves the health of thousands of women.”
The funding announcement demonstrates the government’s commitment to improving the health of women through the first-ever Women’s Health Strategy, a landmark moment in addressing entrenched inequalities and improving the health and wellbeing of women across the country.
Ruth May, Chief Nursing Officer for England, said: “The voluntary, community, and social enterprise sector makes a significant contribution towards improving health and care and these projects will help deliver some of the important commitments set out in the Women’s Health Strategy for England.
“The sector brings a wealth of understanding of the impact on people’s lives, including those from disadvantaged groups, helping us provide positive support to even more women wanting to remain in and return to the workplace.”
The Women’s Organisation is the largest developer and deliverer of women’s training and support in the UK.
Its proposed scheme, Workplace Wellness of Women (WWOW), aims to utilise the Government’s Women’s Health Strategy, academic research on women’s health, and small and medium business employment evidence including business productivity, health and wellbeing, and staff development, to devise and roll out a social model of health support package targeting small and medium business employers in England.
Maggie O’Carroll, chief executive of the Women’s Organisation, said: “Working with women and employers will offer huge opportunities to positively transform women’s working lives. It will help employers to put in place the right type of support at the right time. This will help attract and retain more women in the workplace and measurably improve their wellbeing.
“We are pleased that the Dept of Health and Social Care via the Health and Wellbeing Fund is providing this crucial initial investment to develop and deliver this innovative initiative, that will contribute to the successful delivery of the Government’s Women’s Health Strategy.”
Full details of the fund can be found here.
The Women’s Health Strategy for England can be found here.