Creating inclusive workplaces that support people to enjoy long, healthy, active lives

What do we do?

Business in the Community’s Workplace campaign challenges and supports employers to create inclusive workplaces that encourage people to enjoy long, healthy and active lives. Our two key areas of focus are Wellbeing and Inclusion.

We seek to:

  • Help organisations to reduce the stigma of mental ill-health in the workplace
  • Empower employers to support employees to reduce the harmful impacts of sedentary lifestyles and create active working lives
  • Implement and share best practice on two equality issues – age and gender – to create more balanced and inclusive workplaces in Northern Ireland

To achieve this we will:

  • Provide cutting edge resources, services and activities to support and inspire business to develop a comprehensive and strategic approach to employee wellbeing
  • Support business to create an innovative, structured and effective approach to managing demographic changes, creating age-friendly and gender balanced workplaces





Case Study

Find out how Belfast Health and Social Care Trust supports its employees.

Workplace news

Healthy Working Lives 2018 – Inclusion at Work

Business in the Community is delighted to be working in partnership with the Public Health Agency to deliver our annual Healthy Working Lives conference, and the 2018 event seeks to explore Inclusion at Work.

Find out more

New £ for lb Toolkit launched to help NI workforce shed lbs and raise £££s for charity

Business in the Community Northern Ireland has launched a brand new £ for lb Toolkit which has been developed with the support of the Public Health Agency (PHA). The innovative Toolkit is designed to help employers throughout Northern Ireland support their employees to lose weight and adopt healthier lifestyles.

The £ for lb Challenge aims to encourage employees to adopt a healthier lifestyle by participating in a 12-week programme based on the NHS Choices model – an evidenced based approach to structured, sustainable and healthy weight loss. The challenge is supported by the Public Health Agency under the umbrella of the “Choose to Live Better” campaign.

The £ for lb 12-Week Challenge has been successfully delivered in workplaces for the past three consecutive years, with over 4,100 employees taking part since the challenge began, collectively losing a staggering 26,000 lbs with employers and employees matching every pound lost with a charitable donation. Over 1,620 employees took part last year, collectively losing a staggering 676 stone – the weight of an average killer whale!

The new Toolkit is designed to provide employers with all the necessary information and resources to roll out a 12-Week Weight Loss Challenge within their own place of work at a time that is suitable for them.

Amy Kieran, Workplace Programme Manager at Business in the Community said:

“We are delighted to launch the new £ for lb 12-Week Challenge Toolkit, which has been developed with the support of the Public Health Agency. Our £ for lb Challenge has been running for three years now, and is extremely popular both with employers and employees alike.

“To date, the initiative has helped employees from across Northern Ireland loose over 26,000 lb and we hope with the introduction of this flexible Toolkit, that we can further extend the reach of the programme. There are many benefits of having a healthier, fitter workforce and the £ for lb Challenge is a great way to help employees take the first steps towards improving their wellbeing.”

Caroline Bloomfield, Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement Manager, Public Health Agency, commented: “With so many people spending a considerable proportion of their day at work, it is vital that we take a ‘whole day’ approach to health and wellbeing. At this time of year, many aspire to lose weight and improve their health, but it can often be challenging to juggle the demands of work and life alongside weight-loss. The £ for lb Challenge is a great way to encourage both employers and employees to consider ways to improve their health, both in the workplace and beyond, and sustain those changes in the longer-term.”

Research shows that losing just 5-10% of your body weight, and keeping it off, will have an immediate positive effect on your health. It will reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers, as well as boost your energy levels and mental wellbeing. For most people, this will be around 3-10kg or ½ to 1½ stone.

For more information and to sign up to take part, please visit

Get involved in World Mental Health Day 2017

World Mental Health day, taking place on Thursday 10 October 2017, is a great opportunity for your organisation to raise awareness of mental in the workplace and we’ve produced a range of resources to help you.

So weather you are holding an event, signing a pledge or making an announcement, we’ve got everything you need to celebrate #WorldMentalHealthDay.

  • Mental Health affects one in five people in Northern Ireland – that means that 20% of employees in the average organisation will have experienced mental ill health at some stage.
  • When matched to 17 other countries, Northern Ireland had the 2nd highest rates of mental ill-health
  • Prevalence of mental illness in Northern Ireland is 25% higher than in England

Find out how you can get involved.

Northern Ireland employees work up a sweat

Small changes add up! Over 100 employees from seven NI companies racked up 149,419 active minutes between them as part of an eight-week workplace challenge – that’s 66 ‘active weeks’!

A group of energetic employees gathered at Belfast Harbour on Thursday 12 January for a celebration event to recognise their participation in Activity Works – a new workplace-based challenge.

Business in the Community, in partnership with Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke (NICHS) and sponsored by health and wellbeing provider Westfield Health, launched the exciting new workplace-based campaign in September 2016 to help support employers to tackle the harmful effects of sustained sedentary behaviour.

Seven businesses signed up to the pilot programme, which saw employees rack up a total of 149,419 ‘active minutes’, by making small changes to their normal routine. Employees were encouraged to engage in active travel, active breaks and even active meetings!

Throughout the challenge participants tracked their activity, creating a little healthy competition! Translink was recognised the Best Company for Active Travel, whilst Diageo was the Best Company for Active Meetings. Belfast Health and Social Care Trust was the Best Company for Active Breaks.

Lorraine Milne, Senior Business Development Consultant at Westfield Health, commented:

“Westfield Health is extremely proud to continue its support of Business in the Community through the exciting pilot project, Activity Works. It is something we feel strongly about as champions of health and wellbeing in the workplace and in the wider population – supporting employees, employers and local communities and championing a healthy lifestyle.

“This very much ties in to the core values of Business in the Community Northern Ireland, and our support for Activity Works has helped further enrich our long-standing partnership. It’s amazing to see how much the scheme was embraced by those involved and to hear how much people have benefited from taking part.”

Amy Kieran, Workplace Programme Manager at Business in the Community said: “We are delighted with the results of the first Activity Works Challenge. Together, participants clocked up a staggering 149,419 active minutes during the eight- week period. This equates to 2,490 active hours – or a total of 66 weeks, based on the average working week!

“The feedback from participants has been really positive, with employers noticing increased motivation and wellbeing in the office. We understand that people have busy lives, both inside and outside the office, and this initiative works really well because it doesn’t demand that you make extra time for hours in the gym, instead it encourages people to fit exercise into their normal routine. The pilot has been a great success and we hope to roll it out to even more of our member companies this year.”

Sinead Lynch, Senior Corporate Fundraising Executive, Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke added: “Congratulations to all those who participated in the pilot and clocked up ‘active minutes’. Participants made positive changes to their daily routine due to an increased understanding of the risks associated with sedentary lifestyles which enhances their wellbeing, creativity and also productivity. I also want to thank all the participants for their fundraising as this will also make a real difference to those in NI affected by a chest, heart or stroke condition.”

Research shows that sitting for more than four hours each day, irrespective of overall physical activity, can cause a range of harmful effects including a reduction in metabolic rate, disrupted blood sugar levels and a shutdown of leg muscles. And in the longer-term, sedentary lifestyles can increase the risk of developing stroke, heart disease, diabetes and cancer, raise the risk of obesity, contribute to back ache and muscle degeneration, and is linked to mental health issues including dementia and depression.

If your business is interested in getting involved in the next phase of Activity Works, please visit to find out more or register your interest.

Innovative new app launched to help NI workers keep tabs on their drinking habits

ADDICTION NI, Business in the Community and the Social Research Centre have worked in partnership to launch a new Drink, Work & Me Employers’ Toolkit, designed to help businesses review, develop and implement an effective substance misuse policy within their organisations.

ADDICTION NI, in partnership with Business in the Community, has developed a new mobile phone app to help employees across Northern Ireland keep track of their drinking habits by calculating the number of units in their drinks and how long their body will take to process the alcohol.

Launched to coincide with Alcohol Awareness Week, the new DrinkWatch application is available for download for Android and iPhone users. It allows users to add the drinks they have consumed and the time they consumed them. The app will then approximate how long it will take for the user’s body to process the alcohol. It will also issue a warning if the user travels over 4mph! Other tools within the application include:

  • Alcohol calorie counter
  • Cost calculator
  • Drinks diary
  • Information on harm reduction
  • Tips for reducing your alcohol intake
  • Guidance on government guidelines

The app has been developed as part of Drink, Work & Me, an employer-led, pioneering programme that seeks to help employees understand the wider impacts of alcohol, assisting them to make informed choices when using it. Twenty companies have already participated in the programme which is funded by the Big Lottery Fund.

Thelma Abernethy, CEO, Addiction NI commented: “It’s great to see an issue that was highlighted by so many during the delivery of our programme being addresses in this innovative way. The DrinkWatch application helps people to understand their unit intake and hopefully it will encourage them to use alcohol in as safe a way as possible.”

Amy Kieran from Business in the Community added: “We’ve been working with Addiction NI to deliver the Drink, Work & Me Programme for over three years and one concern that is often highlighted by participants is that they don’t know how to accurately calculate or quantify what they drink and how long it takes from them to process the alcohol consumed, particularly the morning after.

“The DrinkWatch app is a great way to help solve this issue and we hope it will be a valuable resource for employees across Northern Ireland.”

Alcohol Awareness Week runs from Monday 14 November to Sunday 20 November 2016. The theme for this year is ‘Know the Risks’.

The DrinkWatch app can be downloaded from the Play Store for Android users and the Apple Store for iPhone users. For more information on Drink, Work & Me, visit


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