Champion Spotlight: Wolverhampton Wanderers – the club with a community that cares
As corks fly for their two-year Unmindiversary, discover how one Premier League team delivers on its wellbeing goals.
Spotlight on: Wolverhampton Wanderers
Lin Kennings’ wellbeing role at Wolverhampton Wanderers (a Premier League football club, more often known as Wolves) kicked off during Covid.
“When we began working from home,” she recalls, “our chairman tasked our HR director with making sure everyone who did felt supported during what was a really challenging time.”
To do just that, Lin became part of Wolves’ ‘Care Callers’ team. The support squad reached out to every member of staff, each week, to ask a handful of simple – yet super important – questions, like:
‘How are you?’
‘Is there anything you need?’
‘Is there anything you’re worried about?’
“We wanted to show people we cared,” says Lin, “and the staff really appreciated it.”
When Wolves’ back-to-work programme began, the club was keen to keep-up the same level of staff support.
Lin: “There was a big transition that needed to be managed. We realised that we needed a wellbeing programme, which was always on our wish list.” As part of this goal, Wolves launched Unmind – the first professional football club to do so.
From here, the club’s 15-or-so Care Callers were keen to go even further. Having proved their passion for mental health and wellbeing – from striking up a conversation about mental health with a workmate, to keeping any sensitive info under wraps – the group realised they’d already been embodying everything you need from a workplace wellbeing ambassador.
And so, the group ‘Wolves: We Care’ was born.
Mental health is not a tick-box exercise
“Any of our Care Callers who wanted to become a mental health ambassador went through Mental Health First Aid Training together. It was a really great team experience” explains Lin.
While these initiatives mainly began as a result of the pandemic, Lin explains that, for Wolves, workplace mental health is so much more than a mere tick-box exercise.
“It’s been a journey that’s flowed organically and was on our wish-list for some time,” she says. “We want to do whatever we can to support our people. We want them to know that we care.”
Embrace your individual passions
With Lin’s support, team members have boosted their knowledge across various areas of wellbeing – such as eating disorders, bereavement, men’s mental health, dementia and menopause (they’re really proud of this one as it resulted in a new menopause policy).
“I wanted the team of ambassadors to embrace any individual passions that they have,” says Lin. “Whether that be something that they’d like more training in, or perhaps something they have lived experience of.
“We’re all different. Different genders, different personalities, different departments – you name it. It’s so wonderful to see the passion in everyone.”
Champion insights: what Lin has learned, in her own words
Scream and shout about it
“We like to scream and shout about mental health. We want people to know as much as they can about the support that’s available to them, whether that be Unmind or something else. You’ll usually hear a lot from us during the big mental health awareness days throughout the year.
“For example, for World Health Day we had our chef do a menu in the staff canteen that detailed what all the ‘good parts’ of the food were. Everyone loved it.”
The fans care that we care
“Some of the fans heard about our wellbeing initiatives and how we look after our staff. They said it was so nice to hear how the club supported the staff. I’d never thought about this from the fan's perspective, but it was so nice to hear that they valued it and felt it was really important”.
Like this post? Check out the last instalment – ‘Laying the foundations for lasting change, with Legal & General’ – here.
Want to learn more about how wellbeing champions can help shift the culture in your organisation? Get in touch today.