Planning Health and Wellbeing into the South Rail Systems Alliance’s Bristol East’s blockade began many months ago to ensure ‘Health by Design’!

​​​​​​​Richard Flanagan, Bristol East’s Programme Delivery Manager designed the wellbeing and environmental aspects from the very beginning and has been personally involved and backed by his team.

‘It’s the right thing to do, it sets the tone, the behaviours and our expectations’.

Richard personally worked with a football coach to design a menu to sustain the team whilst working hard, aiming to keep them fit for the future.

Over the course of the 8-week blockade, is an ‘8 weeks to wellbeing’ programme with a variety of activities and content on site to:

  • boost healthier habits
  • aid productivity
  • improve concentration
  • provide advice on diet and when to eat for those on shifts
  • create new habits for the foreseeable future

Small changes can make a big difference

The first week of the Bristol East blockade was to kick off with ‘Knowing your Numbers’ where the SRSA  enlisted the help of some health and wellbeing experts to support the workforce over the 8 week period, to track and understand their current health and fitness and how they can make changes that ‘stick’ for the future.

Since the start of the blockade the team received weekly visits from Henry Cleminson who conducted body composition assessments and provided health and wellbeing advice depending on the goals in mind.

Body composition assessments breakdown what percentages your body holds of the different types of muscle, fats, water and bone and how these are stored around your body. Providing the opportunity for everyone on site to know the numbers around their body.

Speaking about the trials on site, Project Manager, Abby Davis said “I was really impressed by the body composition service offered up at Bristol East.

“It really gave a comprehensive, overall snapshot of your body health not just focusing on your weight but in more detail about how your body is made up. The advice on how to change certain results that were not ideal was also useful and the whole experience was really positive.

“The main thing for me was actually seeing how it affected some of the guys on site and the number of people I spoke to after completing the body composition that actively made changes to their diet and lifestyle as a direct result of their body composition.”

The team are also visited by Network Rail’s Occupational Nurse, Annette, every Wednesday.

Annette visited the SRSA site to monitor blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

She was also on hand to provide advice on how to reduce these either via suggestions relating to diet or to lifestyle. ​​​​​​

Both Annette and Henry were based on the site across the 8-weeks.

Now with an understanding and awareness of their numbers, the next step was to spread awareness of some easy changes the team could make to review their diet and hydration habits.

Along with this, various health and wellbeing posters were displayed  around the site to spread awareness of the sugar and salt levels in everyday soft drinks and snacks as well as healthy recipe ideas for our site staff to make for themselves and their families.

On Site Hydration Stations – Solar Powered to Support our Environment

Across the site, Hydration Stations were installed to ensure everyone on site had constant access to fresh water.

These stations were installed by High Motive and were created using a repurposed, Mobile Expanding Wellbeing Unit (MEWU) fitted with solar panels to keep the water chilled and our workforce hydrated.

Along with keeping the team cool during the recent spell of hot weather, hydration on site ensures concentration levels remain high to ensure we all stay safe.

Bespoke Meal Plans

Working with a football club nutritionist, a meal plan was created to boost energy levels through slow release carbohydrates.

The team swapped the traditional burger van to a healthy catering company, with the only burgers on site being of the falafel variety!

Feedback has been very positive, with the workforce welcoming the variety of meals on offer and caterers mentioning ‘there’s never anything left over at the end of the day’.

‘I didn’t have a clue what falafel was, but the guys really like these burgers now!’ – Thomas Bowler

Smoothie Blender Bikes

As well as the team helping themselves to healthy meals, the team were given the incentive of free fruit each day and the opportunity to create a smoothie if they put themselves through their paces on the blender bikes in the welfare area.  The bikes used pedal power to blend smoothies in only a matter of minutes and provides a healthy berry boost and slow release of energy from the banana.