The Workforce Health and Wellbeing Project was established to support Turkish speaking employees working in micro-businesses in the area of Hackney to reduce their levels of absenteeism in the workplace due to health related illnesses. The project aimed to inform individuals on how to improve their mental and physical health. The aspects of ‘work based health’ have always been overlooked and there was no other project which replicated the service that this project provided. Research indicates that within the Turkish Speaking Community there is an extremely high level of smoking, heart related illnesses, lack of physical activity and high levels of deterred mental health issues. There are few existing services which aim to tackle some of these issues, however the project took the service to these individuals rather than them having to decide to use the services and go out of their way to do so.
The project successfully reached, 63 Turkish Speaking micro-businesses and surgeries in Hackney reaching 218 individuals. As well as reaching the rest of the Turkish speaking community via media sources.
The response has been outstanding, and results have been eye-opening. There was a mixed response of the levels of understanding these individuals/micro-businesses have in relation to the importance of health and well-being of employees. Some are very knowledgeable; some are less and are not keen to improve their health. With our guidance, support and information written in simple but productive terms, we aimed to change the perception and educate both employees and business owners.
We worked very closely with Avrupa Newspaper, Haber Newspaper, Olay Newspaper (London based Turkish language newspapers) Eurovizyon Turkish News Portal along with Euro Genc TV (Turkish Media channel with live broadcasts in English and Turkish) and BRT TV ( Turkish Cypriot Media Channel). The number of views, subscribers and media coverage via both well-known Turkish outlets has helped us successfully outreach our target of 500 people, reaching thousands of viewers.
A new Facebook group for this project was created which helps to give tips on physical and mental well-being, as well as trying to increase daily-motivation with quotes and visuals aids in both Turkish and English. The response on all media platforms has been very positive. There has been high engagement, and lots of members have contacted for more information. This shows how successful the project has been in targeting and motivating the public to improve their physical and mental health.
Based on the findings, specific tailored workshops were due to be held to address issues such as mental health in the workplace, healthy eating, access to services, water consumption, alcohol consumption, quitting smoking as well as any other areas highlighted in the research, However, due to COVID-19 the project had to be adapted and changed. It was requested by the Local Authority for the project to be completed as soon as possible. Due to the lockdown and social distancing this meant we would not be able to hold the seminar and workshops we had originally planned. It was therefore decided to ask the health professionals working with us to prepare short seminar video clips covering each topic so we could put these together and make them available online and our social media sites. The clips have also aired on Euro Genc TV.
The response to our project has been very positive and we have already received feedback that some have stopped smoking, more have started exercising and eating healthier food and taking more time out for themselves so in conclusion we can see that this project has had a very positive effect on the health of the Turkish workforce. This project has been successful and a first of its kind, being conveyed to people in English and in Turkish. It has helped the Turkish speaking community to see different ways to deal with issues along with having Turkish leaflets, information and discussions. We are positive we can achieve all our outstanding goals by the end of the project by having a great team and good location at the Hackney branch of TCCA. We hope in the future, providing we can secure funding and continue this project in other boroughs in London, to have a better healthy workforce for all.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank the health professionals who have worked with us and shared their individual areas of expertise in order to help us achieve our aims for this project.