What happens when you put together three Contractors, a Mental Health & Wellbeing Charity and the Regents Canal?

Posted: 01/09/2017

On Friday 22nd September three leading contractors working on or alongside the Colville Estate redevelopment in the London Borough of Hackney will be taking part in a Kayak Challenge on the Regents Canal.

Higgins Construction PLC, Anthology and Wates will be battling it out to win the 200-metre kayak race whilst at the same time raising money for their chosen charity, MIND in the City, Hackney & Waltham Forest.

Sarah Clark, senior resident liaison officer for Higgins Construction at The Colville Estate and organiser of the event comments, “Raising awareness of mental health and ways of improve employees’ wellbeing is extremely important for the industry and what better way to raise money for such a worthwhile charity than have three contractors come together and compete against each other! The event should be extremely challenging but also lots of fun and we hope to exceed our fundraising target of £2,000.”

Part of the community since 1980, Mind in the City, Hackney and Waltham Forest is driven by the needs and experiences of people with mental distress. It aims to empower people with experience of mental ill health, through the delivery of innovative, collaborative services, developing mental wellbeing, resilience and recovery in the boroughs it serves.

Hilary Potter, Chair of MIND Board of Trustees said, “This is a fantastic way to openly demonstrate employers' commitment to the mental health and wellbeing of staff in a vulnerable industry. Supporting people to stay in work is a high priority for Mind in CHWF and providing training to businesses which support their workforce is part of what we do. We are delighted to be chosen to benefit from the funding raised from this race.”

Krishna Maharaj, CEO of Mind in the City, will be presenting the winners with the medals at the event and Councillor Soraya Adejare, Speaker of Hackney Council will be handing over the cup.

According to figures released in March by the Office of National Statistics the risk of suicide among low-skilled male labourers, particularly those in construction, is 3.7 times higher than the male national average. The figures, for workers aged 20 to 64, showed 1,419 suicides in construction and building trades from 2011 to 2015.

With the workforce in the construction sector being predominantly male there are a wide range of factors that can lead to stress – for example heavy workloads, long working hours, travel, family separation, fear of redundancy and job insecurity.

Any combination of these factors, and others, can potentially lead to a deterioration in mental health. Research has shown that common mental health problems such as depression and anxiety and their adverse consequences disproportionately affect those that are poorer and more disadvantaged.

Laburnum Boat Club, who have been operating on the canal for 35 years, will be hosting the event. The club already works closely helping people with mental health issues by giving them the space and freedom to enjoy time on the water.

The event will be taking place at Laburnum Boat Club, Laburnum Street, Hackney, E2 8BH from 11am to 1pm on Friday 22nd September 2017.

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