One Northern Devon has launched a Workplace Wellbeing Programme for local businesses as part of their Youth Flow programme. The programme, funded by the Department for Work and Pensions, aims to support local young people aged 18-to-24, who are facing barriers to employment into work by providing them with holistic support.

In return for supporting one of the young people – either with work, work placement or offering a workplace mentor – local businesses will be offered a ‘Workplace Wellbeing’ package of support. This bespoke programme focuses on supporting workforces to become more physically and mentally resilient. It is being driven by two locally based GPs – Dr Kay Brennan and Dr Ruth Tapsell – who have expertise in lifestyle focused interventions including physical activity, eating for metabolic fitness and health coaching. Local partners include Active Devon and One Small Step.

Dr Kay Brennan, of One Northern Devon, said: “Everyone should feel able to thrive at work.

“One Northern Devon’s ‘Workplace Wellbeing’ programme will support businesses and their employees to protect and improve their health and wellbeing. It is a time when we all need to be at our strongest both mentally and physically to fight off diseases and stay positive.

“We will support and encourage organisations to use this time to kick-start better health.’

One Northern Devon is looking for mentors, who will donate one hour per week and commit to helping a young person overcome barriers to get in to work and support the young person to achieve their goals through support, encouragement and guidance.

The project is also looking for businesses to offer work experience placements to the young people, in order to allow them to experience different working environments and tasters of careers they may wish to explore.

As a thank-you to the mentors and businesses supporting the project, OND has put together a Workplace Wellbeing package. This includes:

  • confidential support from local health professionals, able to cover a range of issues that may affect the workforce or an individual;
  • training from local health professionals;
  • links to additional support available; special offers and discounts from local organisations offering health and wellbeing related products and services;
  • a FREE place on a certificated mental health first aid training course.

Graeme Bennett, director of Devonshire Motors, one of the businesses supporting the project, said: “I feel the wellbeing package is an excellent way to help our team manage any mental health issues and learn where to access support if and when they need to.

“As a business we want our staff to be able thrive and we feel that the wellbeing package is an excellent addition to our tool kit to enable them to do so.”

If you or your business would like to support the project, please contact Michelle Harding, One Northern Devon’s lead mentor, by emailing her on

President of Barnstaple & District Chamber of Commerce, Paula Byers, is the business lead in the team behind the funding bid. Paula said:

“The Wellbeing Programme will help to ensure a sustainable workforce across Northern Devon, as COVID has highlighted vulnerabilities in the mental and physical health of both employees and employers.”

Alex Coull, a District Partnership Manager covering Devon and Cornwall for the DWP said: “We are thrilled to support One Northern Devon with its Workplace Wellbeing Programme which was funded through a Flexible Support Fund grant.

“This new programme is a great opportunity for young people in the county to get the support they need to move closer to employment.

“It remains a challenging time for jobseekers across Northern Devon but these types of programmes are a step in the right direction as we recover from the pandemic.”