Mental Health Awareness Week


Agency News



VCCP London today launched a series of initiatives designed to further foster a culture of wellbeing and support for its staff, providing the foundation for them to progress and thrive.

Launched during this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, the initiatives which have already come into effect include a series of new family and care policies that have been introduced to provide support during life changing and difficult moments. These include menopause, fertility treatment, time off for dependants, compassionate leave, parental bereavement, pregnancy loss and stillbirth, and VCCP will look to consider any additional support that its people may require depending on their individual circumstances.

The new policies include:

  • Fertility policy: up to 2 weeks paid leave for anyone going through fertility treatment as well as time off for a supporting partner
  • Time off for dependants: paid leave to deal with an emergency or event where someone is dependant on a member of staff 
  • Compassionate leave: up to 2 weeks paid leave, plus time off to attend funeral of a non-immediate family member or close friend
  • Parental bereavement: up to 4 weeks paid leave
  • Pregnancy loss: up to 4 weeks paid leave for anyone experiencing pregnancy loss, up to 2 weeks paid leave for the partner affected
  • Stillbirth: maternity leave plus up to 4 weeks paid leave, paternity/second parent leave plus up to 4 weeks paid leave for partner
  • Menopause: up to 4 weeks paid leave for any related sickness absence plus paid time off to attend any medical appointments

The new Menopause and Perimenopause Policy offers paid leave for menopause related sickness and paid time off for medical appointments. It aims to support all staff affected directly or indirectly by the menopause and perimenopause, and has been supplemented by educational talks, vital tools, support and access to further resources to all. 

The Pregnancy Loss Policy will support anyone that has been affected, regardless of gender identity: whether it happens directly to them, their partner, or their baby’s surrogate parent, regardless of the nature of their loss, and whatever their length of service. It also recognises pregnancy loss as an experience not isolated to heterosexual individuals.

The Fertility Policy recognises the physical and emotional impact of undergoing fertility treatment and understands the effect that this can have on an employee. In order to support staff during this procedure, the Fertility Policy provides paid time both to the person undergoing treatment as well as paid time off for partners to support and care for a person undergoing treatment.

The new Compassionate Leave Policy will help support employees during distressing times, such as the death or serious injury of a loved one, as well as serious personal relationship problems. 

The new policies are supported by existing VCCP policies: 

  • Pregnancy/maternity leave: 26 weeks full pay
  • Adoption leave: 26 weeks full pay
  • Surrogacy leave: 26 weeks full pay
  • Shared parental leave: 26 weeks full pay
  • Paternity/second parent leave: four weeks full pay

VCCP has also had a Flexible Working Pledge in place since 2019, which is designed to empower staff to work in the best way that suits them, their colleagues and their clients. 

Andrew Peake, CEO of VCCP London said “We all know that our work is only as good as the people who are part of it. People need to feel happy, part of a community and fulfilled to do their very best. As a result, employee mental health remains a high priority for us at VCCP. These policies are the latest initiatives designed to foster a culture of Wellbeing at VCCP, and to make sure our people are supported. Wellbeing needs to not just be a set of activities put on by the HR team, but a collective effort that gives everyone in the agency the opportunity to input into creating a culture of wellbeing.”

The policies are being introduced hand in hand with a manager training program that will focus on wellbeing and inclusivity, as well as making business leaders and managers accountable for the wellbeing of their teams in their career reviews. 

VCCP has recently trained a cohort of Mental Health First Aiders to help normalise the conversations around mental health. VCCP now has 22 qualified mental health first aiders who are trained to look out for signs of loneliness as well as to engage in meaningful conversations. They are on hand as a point of contact for anyone in the agency experiencing a mental health issue or requiring support. 

Mental Health Awareness Week

To mark this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, VCCP’s wellbeing team has launched a charter alongside a range of week-long activities for employees to enjoy. The ‘Thrive’ wellbeing commitment is a set of standards to ensure that each employee, whether a manager or not, is accountable to creating a culture of wellbeing. With the aim of creating an environment where employees thrive and do their best work, creating time for learning and wellbeing, the charter sets out time to think, develop, learn and grow and provides  time for their own life outside work.

This coincides with an internal campaign to relaunch its employee platform, Thrive. As part of Thrive, VCCP’s staff are given complete control over their individual development as learning isn’t a one size fits all approach. Thrive gives them access to numerous training sessions from presentation skills, creative writing and social education to photoshop and negotiation skills, as well as 1-2-1 career coaching and bespoke development plans to help define their career path.

This week staff will be able to participate in activities such as, watercolour painting classes and breathwork sessions, to financial wellbeing workshops from Clare Seal of @myfrugalyear. For employees who come into the office, a relaxing immersive experience with projections and soothing sounds will run throughout the week where employees can take a break from work and feel a sense of calm. 

In partnership with Vitality, employees will also have access to talks with British Olympian Lizzie Simmonds on resilience, Dr Josephine Neale, child and adolescent psychiatrist, to discuss practical advice for parents and carers,  Dr McLaughlan and Holly Dunn, on the link between the mind and gut, and World Cup winning Rugby Union icon, and mental health advocate Jonny Wilkinson, as he discusses the topic of accepting disappointment and suffering from a fear of failure.