Bill Hill: Supporting the wellbeing of employees in the construction industry

The Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity is the only charity that is 100% dedicated to the physical, mental and financial wellbeing of our construction workers and their families in the UK and Ireland. 

The charity provides a 24 hour a day, seven days a week, Construction Industry Helpline which acts as a free employee assistance programme and it is the first point of contact to access a range of free and confidential support services. The helpline is complemented by an app which provides information, advice and guidance on a variety of wellbeing issues.  

As a direct result of the wellbeing issues presented to our helpline, the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity is delivering £20,000 of free mental health and wellbeing training to the_ industry for the remainder of 2020.  

One of the key findings of our 2019 Impact Report, published in July 2020, was that 62% of emergency financial grants were to pay for daily living costs, paying bills and clearing rent arrears and debt. Over 50% of our construction workforce are either self-employed, agency workers or on zero hour contracts, so when things go wrong financially, issues can quickly spiral out of control.  

 Financial wellbeing is one of the key factors affecting mental health and the introduction of ‘bang on budget’ financial management sessions, aim to directly address these issues.  

The fallout of Covid-19 has also seen an increasing number of redundancies across the industry and we have augmented our training to include two sessions aimed at improving employability with ‘At the Interview’ and a ‘CV Workshop’.   

 As well as providing the immediate reactive support provided by our helpline and app, a crucial element of our strategy is to pro-actively support the industry’s physical and mental wellbeing. We provide a huge variety of free resources which ensures that organisations have easy access to a robust wellbeing strategy to support every level of their organisation from the boots-on-the-ground workforce through to senior management.  

 Our Impact Report also found that 62% of calls to our helpline were for issues around physical wellbeing with the top four reported as being musculoskeletal issues, cancer, respiratory disease and heart disease. In response to this we have introduced even more information and guidance about physical wellbeing that can be freely accessed via our app and ranges from, aches and pains, nutrition, weight management cancer, alcohol and drug addiction. 

 We hope to remove any barriers to access so that our construction workers get the help they need quickly.  By doing this we move one step closer to our mission that no construction worker or their family is alone in a crisis’. 

 Bill Hill is CEO of the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity