Pause, reflect, renew

Today’s guest blog comes from Professor Jane Powell, Director at the Centre for Public Health and Wellbeing at UWE.

Professor Jane Powell

Since March last year and for at least another four weeks, the world has found itself in the midst of a pandemic that has brought uncertainty and challenges to each and every one of us. The world has reacted yet still we find ourselves working in stressful, unprecedented environments that not only affect the way we work but all aspects of our day to day lives including our mental health and wellbeing.

This has undoubtedly had a huge toll on millions of us in the UK and the hundreds of thousands of us that call Bristol our home.

On Thursday 17 June, the City Office and Centre for Public Health and Wellbeing at UWE held an event as part of Bristol Remembers to offer a space for people to talk about the pressures they have seen on staff from all sectors and all corners of the city. Speakers from St. Peter’s Hospice, UWE Public Health, Bristol City Council, University Hospitals Bristol and Weston (UHBW) and Brunelcare all offered insight into some of the ways we can support our organisations and the teams within them to enable a safe recovery from periods of intense pressure.

Frank Noble is CEO of St. Peter’s Hospice and gave a really inspirational presentation on his experience of military decompression, talking around a framework that he produced to help his staff recharge, restore and recuperate in their own teams to help readjust to elements of normality. This was followed by Dr Liz Frost, a colleague and Associate Professor of Social Care here at UWE, who added her thoughts about the impact the pandemic has had on the workforce and how organisations can help staff by focusing on the things that truly matter to them, which in turn will help both teams and individuals thrive.

Along with input from Christina Gray, Director of Communities and Public Health for Bristol, Samantha Chapman, Head of Organisational Development at UHBW and Oona Goldsworthy, CEO at Brunelcare, delegates were given a thorough insight into what others are currently doing and how they too can share, develop and use these ideas within their own organisations.

The event finished with everyone getting a chance to participate sharing their own thoughts, feedback and experiences that we hope to share even wider as we look to recover together as one city. We want to build on the conversations we have had so far to make sure that as a workforce, we don’t just go back to how things were but improve on them, to make it better for everyone.

For anyone interested in finding out more about the event or using a ‘decompression’ framework within your organisation to help recovery from the pandemic please contact the City Office via