Last week, from 13th-19th May, Lewisham held their inaugural Workforce Wellbeing Week. Running alongside National Mental Health Awareness Week, it offered all staff working in the Children and Young People Directorate the opportunity to take part in wellbeing, occupational health & safety and mindfulness sessions. 

One session involved a lavender pouch workshop, run by Sachi Slate, ASYE Team Manager: 

“Our workshop provided the opportunity for staff to discover the soothing power of lavender. They created small calming bags filled with fragrant lavender, which is a tangible tool for relaxation. 

It was well attended and I was happy that so many people took time out of their busy day to make their own little bags of lavender and connected with the others.”

Sachi Slate, ASYE Team Manager, Lewisham

Claire Sammut, Lewisham’s Workforce Wellbeing Lead, voiced her immense pride in the week’s events:

“This week, we encouraged staff to find time for self-care during Wellbeing Week in our Children and Young People Directorate in Lewisham Council. Taking care of ourselves is essential, and reflecting on what worked well this week can offer valuable insights for the future. Self-care is an ongoing journey. It's about finding what works best for you and incorporating it into your daily life. These practices help nourish our minds, bodies, and souls.”

Claire Sammut, Workforce Wellbeing Lead, Lewisham

The Impact on Staff

Feedback from the workforce has been positive so far, and they feel that the Council’s focus on wellbeing is having a positive effect on their day-to-day lives. One member of staff, who participated in the wellbeing sessions, reported that they helped her reflect on the impact of the workload on her wellbeing:

The session provided me a space to feel comfortable to be open and honest regarding the reason why I needed the space. We were able to discuss strategies moving forward and was also provided worksheets that can help. In addition, a follow up session was booked. I really did find the session helpful and did not feel judged.”

Lewisham Council’s Children and Young People Directorate Wellbeing Offer

Lewisham’s Children and Young People Directorate acknowledge the fact that the nature of a social worker’s role can affect their wellbeing. This is why they have a dedicated workforce wellbeing lead to help staff to feel valued and supported in their work. Claire Sammut is a family and systemic psychotherapist with a background in social work.  She has a Professional Doctorate in Family Therapy with the University of Bedfordshire.

Lewisham Council’s Children and Young People Directorate offers a range of wellbeing and therapeutic support services to encourage a work environment that promotes resilience, prevents burnout and enhances the overall wellbeing of staff who are dedicated to support the needs of children and their families:

  • Weekly Mindfulness sessions are a guided meditation to set staff up for the week ahead. 
  • Wellbeing therapeutic sessions where staff can reflect on any challenges which they are facing at work and/or any emotional struggles related to practice.
  • Debriefing sessions where any practitioner who has undergone a difficult experience at work is provided with a safe space to process what they went through.
  • Wellbeing workshops provide practical tools and strategies to staff to help manage stress at work and to maintain a healthy work life balance.
  • Therapeutic workshops equip staff with clinical tools to help the workforce feel supported by the Local Authority to continue to develop professionally and to be more confident in their work.
  • Team building workshops provide a safe space for team members to hold meaningful conversations around what they stand for as a team, and how they support each other to ensure psychological safety within their respective teams.
  • Clinical supervision is offered to practitioners who are working with complex situations. It is process based and aims to offer a reflective space to think about the emotional impact on the practitioner, any potential transference or countertransference issues and issues related with burnout. It further provides an opportunity for therapeutic discussion about the impact of work on their well-being.

Join Lewisham’s Supportive Environment

The development of an innovative wellbeing strategy is part of Lewisham’s ongoing commitment towards its workforce, supporting them to provide vital services for the local community. Ofsted recently judged them as ‘Good’ across all key inspection criteria.

Find out more about joining Lewisham’s children’s services supportive team.