Categories: Pagabo News
We are delighted to announce that we have recently appointed four new trustees to the board of our charitable arm – the Pagabo Foundation – which looks to address and tackle the taboo of mental health within the construction industry.
The four new additions complete the 12-strong board of trustees, and have been named as Karen Sewell from WSP, Andrew Morris from Ashe Construction, Christine Hartigan from Space & Place (S&P), and Elizabeth Hardwick-Smith from Pick Everard.
The Pagabo Foundation aims to raise the profile of mental health within construction and looks to fund resources that makes support and advice as readily available as possible to those working in the industry.
Jason Stapley, Pagabo – Managing Director
Jason Stapley, Managing Director at Pagabo & lead for the Pagabo Foundation said:
‘Our aim is to tackle what is a collective issue for the sector, so it was really important for us to have a wide range of people on the board to help our collective efforts in tackling the taboo of mental health in construction. We are thrilled to be welcoming Karen, Andrew, Christine and Elizabeth to the board, completing a really strong line-up of representatives from across the industry.
‘Our new trustees are all fantastic mental health and wellbeing advocates and we have no doubts that their expertise, passion and knowledge will help to further our aims and objectives to drive industry-wide change and help to provide guidance and support to those who need it the most.’
Elizabeth Hardwick-Smith, Pick Everard – Director of HR & Training
Elizabeth Hardwick-Smith, director of HR and training at leading independent property, construction and infrastructure consultants Pick Everard, has worked in the construction industry for ten years and has worked towards improving mental health after seeing first-hand how pressurised and challenging the industry can be.
She said: ‘I am incredibly proud to have the opportunity to become a trustee of the Pagabo Foundation and I hope that my experience will help to support the critical work that needs to be made more of a priority within our industry. It is important that everyone in the construction world comes together and supports one another to tackle the industry-wide stigma that is attached to mental health, and this educational aspect is an area that I am very passionate about.
‘At Pick Everard, we have recently launched a brand-new HR intranet and wellbeing portal that allows members of staff to access external resources that can help them to manage their emotions and welfare. This new internal toolkit also features regular blog posts that aim to offer advice and guidance to people struggling with their mental health – something that no one should have to deal with by themselves.
‘The work of the Pagabo Foundation is fundamentally important to the future success of the construction industry. Everyone should feel confident and able to express their feelings and the funds raised by the foundation help to signpost people towards getting the help and support that they need.’
Karen Sewell, WSP – Head of UK Legal
Karen Sewell, head of UK legal at leading professional services firm WSP, joined the business in 2016 following a 20-year career at a London-based legal private practice. Explaining that WSP takes a holistic approach to wellbeing through its ‘Thrive’ programme, Karen noted that WSP has introduced mental health first-aiders in an effort to promote an open culture and allow colleagues to be open about their personal struggles with mental health.
Karen said: ‘I am delighted to be joining the board of trustees for the Pagabo Foundation. I am relatively new to the construction sector and notice how aspects of construction jobs, such as long hours on site, pressurised deadlines and tight margins, can be an unhelpful cocktail for positive mental wellbeing.
‘Those of us in senior leadership positions have a responsibility to think wider than our own boardrooms and do what we can to address this collective issue, which has the potential to negatively impact us all. I congratulate Pagabo in pulling this brilliant team together and a look forward to working with them all.’
Andrew Morris, Ashe Construction - Director
Andrew Morris, a member of the MCIOB and business development director at regional construction company Ashe Construction, joined the business as an assistant surveyor in 1989 and has been overseeing the company’s sales, marketing and pre-construction teams since his appointment as director in 2000.
Andrew said: ‘I have seen work colleagues, close friends and even my own wife suffer with mental health conditions. I have also seen that, with the right interventions at the right time, these issues can be nipped in the bud, managed and can help people on their road to recovery.
‘The Pagabo Foundation is fundamentally important to the construction industry, especially given the worrying statistics around mental health. People need to be encouraged to speak openly and honestly – knowing that it’s okay not to be okay. We are developing a good working relationship with Pagabo and I feel that the two businesses have a shared ethos for looking after people’s health and wellbeing.’
Christine Hartigan, S&P – Head of wellbeing & Spa
Christine Hartigan, head of Wellbeing and Spa at national sustainable architect consultants SPACE & PLACE (S&P), and vice-chair at the UK Spa Association, was initially nominated by one of her company directors for the Pagabo Foundation board.
She said: ‘I have always been incredibly passionate about promoting positive mental health and wellbeing. At S&P, we implemented a mental health toolkit, that encourages staff to own their mental wellbeing, to actively monitor their feelings and to speak up if they need support.
‘We work in a deadline driven industry with tight timescales, long working hours and the pressure of responsibility makes for a relentlessly stressful environment. At S&P, we are determined to tackle the stigma around mental health and have introduced several preventative measures, including mental health first aiders, company-wide exercise sessions and creating office space where people can take time out with colleagues, to help people stay mentally healthy while at work.
‘The suicide rate within the construction industry is alarming to say the least and Pagabo’s focus on improving mental health within the sector has never been more important. I am fortunate to have worked closely with the team at Pagabo and feel that their ambitions and aims are something that I am very much aligned with, so when the opportunity to join the board came up, I was delighted.’
We are so pleased to have Elizabeth, Karen, Andrew and Christine join the Pagabo Foundation’s board of trustees. With their support, alongside the existing board members, we believe we can make an real impact and change how we as an industry view mental health in the future.
To see the full list of trustees and for more information on the Pagabo Foundation, click below: