“For me as Director, there always has to be a direct connection between my work and my
surrounding environment. I believe this gives me strength and a vision to build connections
between the people, organisations and environment that ultimately results in a
sustainable business model for New Leaf Life Design.” Becky Wright
If New Leaf Life Design were an apple, corporate social responsibility would be both the core and the peel. Collaboration and increasing the strength and scope of connections between people and organisations is at the center of everything we do, it nourishes us and ensures our sustained growth, and like the apple peel itself, it is the outer skin that holds the business together and allows us to shine.
The principle upon with New Leaf is founded is one of enabling people to flourish by overcoming the issues that can affect their working life, their relationships, personal well-being and the ability to contribute positively to their community. This is achieved, of course, via the counselling and coaching services we deliver each day directly to individuals and via a number of employee assistance programmes. But we strive each year to do more than simply deliver on our promise to our paying clients; our aim is to worked in partnership with local groups and individuals to help build local economic, social and environmental sustainability and make a meaningful contribution to the people, organisations and the environment in and around Taunton Deane. In short, all New Leaf’s business practices are designed and delivered with a real and genuine determination to benefit both individual clients and the wider society within which the business operates.
Our aim is to benefit the local community by:
- Maintaining the delivery of high-quality and relevant services that meet the needs of the local community.
- Establishing a caring and collaborative ‘green’ ethos that drives all business decisions and is underpinned by a Sustainability and Procurement Policy.
- Asking for and valuing feedback and contribution from associates, partners, staff and clients.
- Having a vision and purpose with a strong emphasis on ‘giving back’ to the local community.
- Helping business and employees flourish by raising awareness of mental health in the workplace and providing relevant services and support.
“We use New Leaf because we believe they are a green responsible company…”
Bray Leino, North Devon
“New Leaf has been a fantastic company to work with for providing counselling and coaching services to staff. Becky has supported a number of staff with different needs and requirements and feedback from employees has been phenomenal. Becky has helped people develop strategies which they can then easily apply in situations. This excellent feedback has enabled us to promote the services from personal recommendation from our employees. Becky has always been extremely professional, friendly, efficient and I would not hesitate to recommend her.“ Kate Brooks, Human Resources Advisor, Bridgwater and Taunton College
What are the key ways we are achieving these aims?
External Validation of our CSR approach
We are the first, and remain the only, counselling service in Somerset and Devon that has received external validation of its CSR-focused business ethos and professional practice from Trading Standards.
Becoming a MINDFUL EMPLOYER partner
This is an employer initiative that raises awareness of mental health in the work place through local support networks and providing access to information and advice. Employers are encouraged to recognise and support employee’s mental health as a means of reducing costs related to staff absence, recruiting and retaining valued and talented members of staff and improving productivity. As ‘Mindful Employers’ businesses demonstrate they are willing to enable disclosure of mental ill health in the work place without fear of rejection or prejudice.
Improving the Environment
Wildlife Conservation at Rumwell Hall
We have been pivotal in working with business colleagues at Rumwell Hall (where New Leaf is based) to raise awareness of wildlife conservation. Together the group have installed owl boxes, bird boxes and bat boxes (which were made by local people including members of the Huntstile F4 Day Service) and encouraged the site owner to plant and grow a wild meadow to encourage more wildlife. In collaboration with Taunton Beekeepers Association, four beehives have also been installed. New Leaf is currently supporting bee-keeper James Lowe who has used New Leaf donations to purchase additional beekeeper suits so that members of the community, including school children, can visit his hives, learn how to keep bees and understand the importance of bees in the eco-system.
Since 2008, Director Becky Wright has pioneered the restoration of St Agnes Holy Well near Cothelstone and worked to communicate its provenance to visitors. Backed by grants from the Quantock Hills Sustainable Development Fund, the Heritage Lottery Fund and the local council, Becky partnered with the Huntspill Project and Bridgewater College to ensure local young people could benefit from the experience of conserving this local landmark. A key outcome of the restoration project is the development of a free app that tells the story of the well and the projects vision for its future via film and sound. Alongside the recorded stories and a video of the final Ceremony, a ‘sound walk’ of the journey up to the Well and the surrounding area was recorded by Alex Roland from Your IT Now, which provide care and support for people with learning disabilities, with one of his clients who is an expert in 360-degree filming. Through the raised profile generated by the project, St Agnes Well is now included in the Cultural Secrets of Exmoor listings. The St Agnes Holy Well project has since received a Certificate of Commendation from the Historic England ‘Angel Awards’ for ‘Best contribution to a heritage project by young people’.
Developing innovative solutions in response to local needs
Life Design Employee Assistance Programme (Life Design EAP)
This is a unique fusion of both counselling and coaching and is designed to help employers address many of the ‘people problems’ they face daily in the fast-paced and ever-changing world of work. Life Design EAP is a model of proactive, practical help that works by providing staff with strategies to manage the stress and anxiety that can result from the ‘pressure to perform’ and the need to negotiate seemingly endless new challenges and changing scenarios.
‘Bee Happy’ Stress Buster Programme
Our collaboration with local Taunton Beekeepers Association triggered the start of a series of lunchtime ‘stress buster’ talks from which 50% of the income generated is donated to, initially the Taunton Bee Keepers Association, and now James Lowe. The ‘Bee Happy’ sessions have reached 300 people across Somerset and generated £600 additional funding for the bees.
“… we welcome the fact that New Leaf is very much engaged with the environment and that 50% of the proceeds from these workshops are given to the Taunton Bee Keepers to support the local honey bee population.” Taunton School
Support and resources to help communities tackle obesity
The Broomfield Community Weight Loss Programme – In response to obesity being identified as one of the local area’s public health priorities, we developed a collaborative community weight-loss programme to help local people re-connect with the social, health and environmental benefits of local produce, healthy eating and fitness. Over the 10-week course 17 participants lost over 18 stone, BMI (a key indicator of obesity) scores were reduced and waist measurements were reduced on average by nearly 3”. The project brought together local people with local advisors and experts such as Hilary Richardson of ‘Shapesmith’; fitness and running coaches Imogen Mann and Brett Rogers; Deborah Durrant of Deliciously Raw and Somerset Community Food and Incredible Edible Somerset.
The ‘Embody’ Weigh Loss Podcast – developed in 2015 with support from the Sedgemoor Community Health Fund, ‘Embody’ is a 2-part audio programme designed to support people who struggle to lose weight or maintain weight loss. The programmes are available free to download to residents in Sedgemoor and Taunton Deane. To date 40 residents of Sedgemoor have benefitted from the ‘Embody’ audio programmes .
Creative Economy Business Coaching
Recognising both the need within the community, and the potential it has to contribute to the Somerset economy, funding was secured from the Somerset County Council Creative Industries Development Fund (in 2011) to provide coaching, training and support to local artists and creative industries sector sole traders to help them develop key business skills such as how to use marketing and PR to grow their business.
“An excellent experience that has really helped me and my business. I believe this is a great asset to other artists and would strongly recommend them to do this programme…I feel very much more inspired and proactive towards my life goals and have increased my confidence dramatically.” Rob Ahob Goblin
Using the Internet and Staying Safe Workshop
With funding from the Somerset Community Learning Partnership, Your IT Now and New Leaf provided training for 26 people with learning disability and their carers which resulted in greater confidence when using the internet, a better awareness of the potential dangers and incidence of cyber-bullying and a clear understanding of what to do if faced with threats whilst using social media. The course helped develop skills to improve participants contact with friends and family via email, Skype and social media and increase their ability to live independently by being more confident about using internet banking and online shopping sites.