In Attendance: Dilys Hackett, Tracey Price, Neil Sefton, Dean Ludlow, Eleanor Jones, Lesley Bartholomew, Michael Slade, Holly Thompson, Andrew Evans, Nicola Wilson
Apologies on postponing last Monday’s forum, thought it was more beneficial having it this week after everyone opening for the first time since the firebreak lockdown last Monday.
· The Christmas light in the village are looking good with lots of people offering to help in putting them up.
· It is important now more than ever to keep people talking to each other and encourage businesses to help each other. The business forum has evolved to a place where people can come and talk to each other and support one another thoughout these difficult times.
· Welcome to Tracy Price CEO of Mind Pembrokeshire. What do Mind do and offer? What support is out there?
o Tracy said they have seen an increase in mental health problems such as anxiety, stress, ocd etc in relation to covid. Mind Pembrokeshire operates 365 days a year, they offer Facebook groups for different ages and all types of mental health support there is also online support and telephone helplines.
o On the 1st September last they opened a centre in Haverfordwest and have remained open since. They did not close in second firebreak and services operated as normal.
o They are always there for anyone, you can phone up the centre and they will work with you to arrange the best way to get you the most helpful support.
o Mind also have website resources including workplace wellbeing and welfare. Links to follow from Tracy which will be forwarded on by SCT. Help can be provided with workforce concerns/issues and also help for individual business owners.
o There has been an increase in germaphobia, ocd, stress and anxiety in all age groups. People who have never experienced mental health issues in the past are now and there is support available.
o Mind have received extra funding to increase virtual support services, this includes an active monitoring service which is a 6-week course of 20 mins a week. This has a very positive impact on mental health it is completely free. You can self-refer by getting in touch with Mind or be referred to them by GP.
o There were 106 referrals in September by GP’s and 73 in October but there is still capacity for more people. To self-refer you just need to phone up Mind, you can also phone for someone else.
o If Mind feel as though they cannot help they can signpost you on where to go to receive the best help for your individual needs.
· Mental health is even more important at this time with Christmas coming up and the added pressure and emotions this brings during a difficult time. Covid has made it a lot more difficult this year which highlights why Minds supports is so valuable.
· Mind is working with Pembrokeshire GP’s and the Citizens Advise Bureau in partnership where they can now directly refer people to the Citizens Advise Bureau and visa-versa. Partners for the journey starting 1st December 2020.
· An SCT member stated from an employer’s point of view that recognising the signs of the start of mental health issues in staff is very important before metal health worsens. He asked Tracy her advice on how to recognise these issues before the problem escalated and what steps can employers do? How do you recognise the problem and speak to the member of staff about it?
o Mind has a large employer wellbeing project however, a lot of this you have to pay for.
o A resource they offer is not just around mental health but a staff wellbeing action plan for all employees carried out at the start of their employment. This enables the members of staff to start talking about something or identify possible trigger. This wellbeing action plan also includes physical problems too so you can be aware as employees. Wellbeing action plans aim is to identify any physical or mental health issues with members of staff to make you aware as an employer.
· Another SCT member highlighted issues with staff health issues and mental health problems – Staff are known well and you can see signs of change however, business owners are on their own, you feel as though you cannot show weakness and need to be a strong support for your employees. We need to be conscious of each other and support each other. As owners we have such a big responsibility to our staff, their families and their livelihoods. It is hard as we need to make business decisions but not be heartless and still care for our staff, it is a hard balance to have.
· It is also important to note and remember that in our trade alcohol is also a factor that can play apart in mental health and wellbeing in the hospitality sector with easy access to it and long/late work hours.
· Andrew Evans said the government is giving us short notices on decisions which is very difficult. A letter has gone tonight to first minister to ask for more clarification on New Year.
· We need to keep staff engaged, wholesome and energised.
· Tracy said that Mind have a big workforce team who she will be able to go back to see if we can organise a meeting on this to help businesses. It is really important to keep thinking about ourselves, read the material that is going to be emailed out and think it is for you too not just for you to use for everyone else.
· Michael Slade expressed on how important it is to support each other and advertise the business forum as also a support network for all business owners in Saundersfoot.
· Dean Ludlow also raised a key point on the mental strain on yourself keeping members of the public safe too, this is another additional strain.
o Covid has made everything change so now is a time to make changes for the better. Customers are now more inclined to accept any changes.
o A lot of locals are coming back into the village but there are still some that are weary and do not feel confident too yet.
o Nicola said they have been not too bad and have been quite busy but have added issues with roadworks on The Strand so have had go close some days. Christmas is going to be hard because of the numbers of people, you do not know how many customers to expect and there is also a knock-on effect with stock coming in and availability been affected by covid. Deliveries from England are currently delayed due to England’s lockdown.
How can we attract more retailers to the business to the forum? Can members spread the word to businesses to explain the forum and let them know it is there for all businesses in the village for all types of help and support. We need the feedback and input from all types of businesses in the village to help direct and channel support and help in moving the fourm forward.