UK-based kitchenware and homeware retailer Lakeland has entered into a strategic alliance with the esteemed Retail Trust, a charity dedicated to the retail sector, to fortify the mental and emotional wellbeing of its 1,300-strong workforce.

As part of this collaborative effort, Lakeland employees will gain access to an array of customised mental health resources. These include counselling services, cognitive behavioural therapy for both the employees and the younger individuals under their care, as well as a variety of financial benefits and rewards.

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In addition to this, key figures from Lakeland will participate in the Retail Trust’s Leaders’ Summit, scheduled to take place in London next week. The summit aims to bring together over 100 retail leaders to deliberate on the future of employee wellbeing in the retail sector, with a specific focus on addressing the escalating issue of customer abuse.

Steve Knights, CEO at Lakeland, remarked, “Over the past few years, we have developed a series of initiatives to make sure Lakeland is an amazing place for people to not only work but also flourish; from rolling out mental health first aider training, to colleague development programmes, as well as organising numerous events to connect our teams.

“A brand new initiative we are incredibly proud and excited to announce is our partnership with the Retail Trust. The Retail Trust has been caring for and protecting the lives of people working in retail for nearly 200 years and believe the health of colleagues is the foundation they need to exceed both in work but also their own lives. We are so happy to be able to offer this outstanding service to all our employees and share the Retail Trust’s cause of creating hope, health and happiness in the workplace and beyond.”

Lakeland is not alone in this endeavour. Other major brands like bp, WHSmith, and The Entertainer have also collaborated with the Retail Trust this year. This is particularly significant as recent data indicates that eight out of ten retail workers have reported a decline in their mental health. Furthermore, the Retail Trust’s research for its 2023 health of retail report revealed that half of the retailers have observed an increase in employee absences related to mental health issues.

The upcoming Retail Trust’s Leaders’ Summit on November 2 will serve as a platform for retailers to discuss challenges faced by their staff and explore solutions for creating more positive work environments. Helen Connolly, CEO of New Look, is among the industry leaders who will share their insights at the event.

Chris Brook-Carter, Chief Executive of the Retail Trust, stated, “We’re seeing more and more workers now looking to their employers for a lot of the help they need to manage their mental health. Organisations increasingly understand the importance of developing happier and healthier workforces when it comes to boosting creativity and productivity that will drive their businesses forward.

“That’s exactly why we’re encouraging other retailers to follow Lakeland’s lead and provide more support that will protect the wellbeing of their people and let them take control of their physical, financial and mental health.”

For further details on the Retail Trust Leaders’ Summit, you can visit their official website.

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