Happiness guru tops the bill at leading Wellbeing Symposium Posted by Rachael Webb, 23 February, 2018 - Categorised in:

Leading health and wellbeing experts gathered at The Wellbeing Symposium in Ashford this week for the UK’s top wellbeing event, with happiness guru Lord Richard Layard headlining the agenda.

Taking about mental health and happiness in the workplace, the co-founder of global movement Action for Happiness explained how mental illness is the most common illness for those of a working age, accounting for more 40% of all absenteeism in the UK.

Advising employers on how they can support mental health issues in the workplace, Lord Layard identified that culture needs to change, saying:

“People need to be inspired to perform better rather than being pressured by their managers.

“People get much more happiness from contribution as a collective than continually striving to be more successful than others. Society needs to change its approach.”

The event, now in its sixth year, was held at a new venue of the Ashford International Hotel. Aimed at businesses, communities and individuals, this year’s event welcomed delegates from health, education, housing, charity and public and private sector enterprises.

Former GB wheelchair rugby captain and TV presenter Steve Brown also returned to The Wellbeing Symposium stage, sharing his experience of how he turned a life changing accident that left him paralysed into a personal opportunity, as well as revealing behind the scenes details from his recent challenge with BBC1’s Without Limits: Vietnam.

The positive impact of pets on human wellbeing was the pet topic of Dr Sandra McCune from MARS Petcare UK – an emotive one for many animal-loving delegates.

Other big topics in the packed speaker programme and workshops were mental health, tips for energising body and mind and financial health. Headline sponsor Ashford Borough Council’s Cllr Brad Bradford and his team outlined the council’s role in and approach to community health and wellbeing and introduced, One You Kent, an initiative help those living and working in the county step towards a healthier lifestyle.

The 240 strong audience were invited to quiz a Question Time panel of industry representatives including Alice Chapman-Hatchett Director of Europe Health Centre, Rory Murphy, Chair of Ensign Retirement Plan Trustees Limited, Tracey Kerly Chief Executive Ashford Borough Council and Michaela Nuttall Nursing Associate for C3 Collaborating For Health.

Another new feature for 2018, The Marketplace, enabled delegates to meet health and wellbeing specialists, with interactive features like making healthy workplace snacks with Creatabot and head massages from Therapy Partners.

The Inspiring Wellbeing Awards, held in conjunction with The Wellbeing Symposium and sponsored by MAXIMUS UK and KIMS Hospital were announced the previous evening at The Ashford International. Kent County Football Association won the flagship Outstanding Contribution to Wellbeing Award for the numerous wellbeing initiatives they’ve introduced in the community.

The Wellbeing Symposium 2018 was organised by Wellbeing People and Pillory Barn in partnership with headline sponsor Ashford Borough, joined by Kent County Council, Golding Homes, C3 Collaborating for Health, Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, Maximus, mytimeactive, MARS Petcare UK, neyber and KIMS Hospital.

Co-founder of the event Ben McGannan said

“We’ve had a great turn out today – its fantastic to see people from all professional backgrounds come together to learn about wellbeing.

“We hope the information and intelligence shared today inspires delegates to take a moment to think of the small things they can do to make a difference to their wellbeing – and start putting them into action.”

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