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Ashgate Hospice > Taking care of our staff and volunteers

Good physical and mental health can look different to different people, here at Ashgate Hospice we want to make sure our people have the support they need so they can figure out what it means to them. 

We spoke to our Staff and Volunteer Wellbeing Advisor, Ruth Bailey, about her role and how we’re helping our people to feel empowered to lead healthier and happier lives. 

So, who is Ruth Bailey? Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

“At the age of 11 I began training to become a ballerina and from 18 – 24 years old I danced with the Royal Ballet Company.  

“I have been very fortunate to work with Darcey Bussell, Tamara Rojo, Alina Cojocaru, Carlos Acosta and Steven McCrae.  

“My biggest achievement was dancing Clara in the Nutcracker and a cygnet in Swan Lake. I’ve also had the opportunity to perform across the world in countries such as Japan, America, China and Australia.”  

Give us a little insight into your background and how you came to be in this role. 

“After retiring from ballet, I went on to study nutrition, health and lifestyles at Sheffield Hallam University. Then I worked for Bupa private healthcare as a wellbeing advisor before joining the NHS as a staff wellbeing officer. 

“My passion for wellbeing grew after I recovered from an eating disorder. I love to make sure that my physical and mental health is priority and I love to encourage others to do the same.” 

How has your own experience of wellbeing shaped you and your role at Ashgate? 

“I am now 10 years into recovery from an eating disorder and during that time I have learned that it is OK to ask for help. It doesn’t mean you’re failing if you need help, it just means that you’ve found the inner strength to reach out. I believe that I am now a role model for healthy wellbeing practice, which I absolutely love! 

“I feel that because I have experienced poor mental and physical health it has helped shaped my vision on how I would like wellbeing to progress. It’s important to remember that even when you feel well and in a good place with your wellbeing – it takes work to maintain every single day.  

“I’d love to help make wellbeing a priority for everyone. It often feels selfish to put yourself first and I fully understand this concept. However, it was one of the best decisions I made – to invest time in looking after myself.” 

What do you hope to achieve in this brand-new role at Ashgate? 

“It is refreshing to join an organisation where wellbeing is already an established part of the culture. I am look forward to improving and expanding the wellbeing support schemes offered to staff and volunteers.  

“The aim is to normalise conversations around mental health and ensure staff and volunteers have the capability, knowledge and skills to access the support they need.  

I hope to build and promote a really strong message that wellbeing should be paramount to encourage healthy staff and volunteers. Human beings have basics needs and I hope to give time, energy and a safe space for people to bring their true selves into the workplace.” 

Ten great ways to improve staff and volunteer wellbeing:

  • Spend some time determining your priorities or goals and then create the time to achieve them in the healthiest way possible.
  • Make time for your loved ones and make memories.
  • Take care of your physical health by finding something you enjoy that moves your body – we were designed to move!
  • Take care of your mental health by being realistic with your boundaries and self-expectations.
  • Don’t over commit.
  • It’s OK to say no.
  • Fuel your body with good nutrition but also enjoy food without restrictions.
  • Create a bedtime routine and ensure you get enough sleep.
  • Don’t compare your chapter one to someone’s chapter 20.
  • TALK, TALK, TALK! Communication is crucial to happy and healthy wellbeing.

As a wellbeing advisor, what are your main responsibilities?

“My responsibilities as Ashgate’s wellbeing advisor are to ensure that we do everything we can to provide our people with the right support to maintain and improve their mental and physical wellbeing. It’s essential that we nurture our people so that they are able to excel in their roles, provide excellent care for patients and lead a more content life.

“Being a wellbeing advisor brings so much joy – I’m able to spend time with our staff and volunteers and provide a space for them to have open and honest conversations. Working within healthcare means that people have very little time to pause during their days – which is why it’s vital that I create those punctuations marks to reflect, regroup and support.”

Five years from now, what would you like to have achieved?

“In five years’ time, I’d like to have made a difference to the overall wellbeing of staff and volunteers at Ashgate. We know that behaviour change takes around 10 weeks to have taken effect and so consistency, patience and perseverance are key when working on one’s wellbeing.”

Looking after our mental health is crucial. What resources are there for Ashgate staff and volunteers who need extra help and support?

“Since working in healthcare I have learned that the sector is filled with very selfless people. People who constantly put other people’s needs ahead of their own, despite working in some of the most demanding roles.

“That is why it is vital that we have great resources that support our people to remain happy and healthy so that they can continue to deliver crucial end of life and palliative care to families across North Derbyshire.

“Our staff and volunteers have access to a whole host of resources that cover mental health, as well as physical, social and financial. And for those colleagues who need more tailored support, we offer dedicated 1:1 wellbeing calls. This isn’t just accessed at crisis point, these 1:1 wellbeing sessions are designed to support people through the stresses of work and their everyday lives.

“Our wellbeing support schemes are continuing to evolve and develop and I am excited to see where our wellbeing journey takes us.”

If you want to join an organisation that prioritises wellbeing, find out more about us and our current vacancies here.