Imperial College London

College security team receive a helping hand to get moving

by

Woman on exercise equipment at Ethos Sports Centre, South Kensington, part of Move Imperial's flagship facility

The College's Security team have embarked on several industry-first initiatives to improve the physical and mental wellbeing of their officers.

In an effort to improve the physical and mental health of their team in Campus Services, College Security have launched several health and wellbeing initiatives that have earned them plaudits from across the sector.

“It’s no secret that officers in the security sector - just as in the police - can struggle in terms of physical wellbeing.” noted Terry Branch, Head of Security.

“It’s not just the physical rigours of the job. Our role involves a higher-than-average amount of mental duress - from responding to criminal or medical emergencies throughout the week or the simple fact of being ‘on-call’ 24/7.” 

Health MOT

The first initiative came as a result of a Security officer noting that officers under 50 were ineligible for an occupational health check-up. 

This led to the creation of a 'Health MOT' package for each officer. 

An initial pilot group of 25 team members were given a private pre-emptive health check-up, including everything from cardio-respiratory fitness tests to cardiac CTs. The ambition is now to roll this out across the entire department.

"In addition to ensuring our Security team were aware of any general health, the project was also a response to their unique circumstances during the pandemic." said Jane Neary, Director of Campus Services.

"Our officers were on-campus throughout each lockdown. If we were asking them to do this, we wanted to proactively ensure there were no risk factors that may have heightened their susceptibility to falling ill."

Each guard was also provided a Fitbit personal fitness device, a range of fitness guidance materials, as well as the option to reserve drop-in sessions with colleagues from Move Imperial.

A Fitbit on a wrist and app on phone screen
Each officer was equipped with their own Fitbit device to track their physical activity

"Considering the demographic health risks associated with our sector, I'm proud we've been able to get this up-and-running. Personally, 10 years ago, a similar Health MOT found that I had an under active thyroid - if I wasn't made aware it would have put me at high risk of heart attack or stroke. Being equipped with early information has been a tremendous help."

Move Imperial 

Once equipped with an overview of their health, the next step was supporting the team in taking action to respond. 

In collaboration with Move Imperial, the 'Secure Your Wellbeing' programme was developed.

After setting an initial set of goals, participants were equipped across the 10 weeks with free personal training sessions, webinars and resources provided by the Move team. 

Participants were able to book meetings with the College’s fitness experts to discuss and explore their personalised goals.  

“At core, Secure Your Wellbeing was designed as an express head-start for our colleagues in Security to better understand the various strands that make up our physical and mental wellbeing” said Will Hollyer, Head of Move Imperial.

“We’re provided with endless information on how to live ‘better’ lives - however, we often really need someone to help navigate what this all really means and how we to incorporate it realistically.” 

Fitness ambitions after lockdown

Dave Gordon, Security Service Manager, was one of the initial participants. 

"During lockdown my weight hit 21 stone. I’ve never wanted to be a father who can’t play football with his children due to his fitness - I knew I needed to do something." 

Dave Gordon
Dave Gordon, Security Services Manager, was one of the initial participants of the scheme

"The support was amazing. I needed to be held accountable and from the very beginning I knew this would be different to previous attempts."

"After the programme, I continue to run three times a week, I manage my diet and lifestyle; I'm happier in myself."

The Security team were provided with resources and training on physical and mental recovery, including meditation, gratitude journals, and mindfulness. 

Screenshot of Secure Your Wellbeing guide
Participants were provided with informational resources, gratitude journals and planners to help them organise their meals

“It can be difficult for people in our field to prioritise mental health. Many of us come from police or military backgrounds, where we’re required to simply ‘carry on’.” said Terry. 

“The College is a global hub for health research and, in our team at Move, we have experts at turning this into practical action on a personal level. We’d be delighted to offer a programme like this to other colleagues across the College who see an opportunity to improve their level of physical activity and empower their mental wellbeing.” said Will.  

 

 

Reporter

Maxwell Lacey

Maxwell Lacey
Campus Services

Tags:

Campus-developments, Sport
See more tags

Leave a comment

Your comment may be published, displaying your name as you provide it, unless you request otherwise. Your contact details will never be published.