Many businesses, companies and organisations across Plymouth took part in this month-long workplace walking challenge during September, which was delivered by Active Devon and Wellbeing at Work, part of Livewell Southwest, working in partnership with Plymotion and Plymouth City Council. The idea was to create a team of colleagues, who tracked and logged their daily steps.

Louise Evans from Active Devon said; ‘Having Wellbeing Champions within a workplace can help and support employees with their health and wellbeing. Claire and Susie were absolutely fantastic during Steptember, supporting their colleagues to encourage positive change within the workplace. They both took hold of the challenge and set up activities such as walking meetings, internal competitions and gave positive encouragement to their colleagues. This support goes a long way to helping others feel that they can get involved! Amazing work Susie and Claire!’

Charley Roberts of Wellbeing at Work Team said: ‘My role was to ensure there was as much promotion from the Wellbeing at Work team as possible and be a point of contact for the Wellbeing Champion’s during the Campaign. It was good to see the responses from some of the Wellbeing Champion’s and how they were getting on during the Campaign. A lot of work went into this years’ campaign to encourage people to increase their steps, especially with working from home.

Susie and Claire from Home Start Southwest really took the idea of Steptember and ran with it. Watching their campaign on the Steptember Facebook Group was interesting. They organised walking work meetings, catching up with their colleagues on their lunch break and team building walks. Steptember was to encourage businesses in Plymouth to be more active for the month of September and Susie and Claire were successful in increasing Home Start’s steps during the month of September and encouraging their work colleagues to join in. As Wellbeing Champions they really have worked hard to ensure Health and Wellbeing is spread across the businesses. From sharing the ‘CLANG’ postcards, which are, child friendly to encouraging physical activity in the work place. This is why we chose them as winners. They work hard and enjoy their role as Wellbeing Champion’s – it is not always HUGE gestures and loads of campaigns. Sometimes the sign posting and leaflet dropping is what helps build wellbeing within businesses which is what Susie and Claire have done’.

Susie from HomeStart said “Everyone in our team has fully embraced the idea of Steptember, getting those steps in through a variety of activities, including morning walks to the Hoe, walks on the beach, running through Saltram, and team walks. We even share photos of our efforts at our weekly Monday team meeting, via Zoom!

We have been working from home, and continue to do so, since the beginning of lockdown, and as a close knit team we have very much missed that physical connection with each other. Our amazing staff also deal with a lot of trauma as a parent support service, so an excuse to get out and clear our heads is much needed.

Steptember has given us a shared purpose, an extra reason to meet up, and a cause for celebration! Thank you Active Devon and Wellbeing at Work for giving us the opportunity to keep connected 😁👟👣💪“.

Since Steptember, I have continued to be aware of my daily steps and this means that I now walk to the shops rather than drive, and I am on week 8 of the 0-5k app, and I intend to keep running, so Steptember has definitely had a positive impact on me! We also won were tickets for foot golf, tickets to the box museum, and activity trackers.

Homestart Scheme manager, Zoe Bell, had this to add:

‘It has encouraged us to continue to be more active within our working week, beyond Steptember, be that individually or with a colleague (1 only, given the current climate!!). This has positively impacted on both our physical and mental health’.

Home Start CEO, Andrea Chandler added that, she has certainly kept the level of walking up!

Steptember is an annual campaign, so if you missed out this year, perhaps you will consider joining us next year, and with so many health and wellbeing benefits to walking, it is an ideal opportunity for teams to feel healthier and happier.

Did you know that walking is the simplest and easiest way to fit more activity into your everyday routine? It can can lower stress, boost energy, increase brain power and reduce sickness helping you to stay healthier, happier, burn calories, be more productive and feel great. Plus, it is a form of active travel, which is great for our environment.

Nita Dodd, Advanced Health Improvement Practitioner, Wellbeing at Work, Livewell Southwest.