Can you tell us about your current role and where you work?

I am currently a self-employed Wellbeing Consultant, working on a number of programmes. For example, I am working with North Somerset Council’s  'Healthy

Workplace Award Programme' which supports local businesses to protect and promote the health and wellbeing of their employees. I also work with “Active Cornwall” in a fabulous programme called “Live Longer Better”, nationally led by Sir Muir Gray. Another area of my work is within MSK Aware with Professor Tony Woolf. This is a workplace programme helping to create healthier, safer and supportive workplaces that can prevent, and manage MSK conditions effectively. Recently I have also delivered lectures and webinars to Plymouth and Exeter University and the Royal College of General Practitioners.  

What is your favourite part of your role?

Oooh I love everything about my role, but it’s the diversity mainly! You never know what you’re going to be dealing with, which means you have to stay on top of your game 110%. It’s a proper ‘think on your feet’ role, with no room for error. It’s also highly satisfying and rewarding. You know you are protecting the public as well as helping businesses to thrive and grow. We are a front-line service that nobody hears about, but everybody needs and relies on.

Can you give us an overview of your career path?

At University I studied for my BSc (Hons) Degree in Exercise & Health and after completing a module in Health Promotion, felt this was my field. 

I carried out lots of volunteer work to get experience and then got my first job within the NHS as a Smoking Cessation & Workplace Health Project Officer. I then worked as a Health Promotion Specialist within Nottingham NHS, working closely with primary care teams and leading on physical activity with a focus on prevention of Coronary Heart Disease and improving Mental Health.  

When I moved to Cornwall I was very lucky to get a job on a brand new programme focussed on workplace health within the local Health Promotion unit. Here I developed a successful Healthy Workplace Award Programme, working with many local businesses and a wide range of health settings. Requiring a new challenge I moved back to the community NHS Trust locally and became the staff health and wellbeing lead internally for NHS staff.  

After 20 years within the NHS, I decided to and set up on my own. It was a big move, but I knew I was ready. I have had the most wonderful 2 years working on such a wide variety of programmes and meeting many more new partners.  

In your role, how do you support/improve the public’s health and wellbeing?

I work closely with many partners, bringing people together to collaborate and enable local health initiatives to happen.  

One example is working on North Somerset Council’s “Healthy Workplace Award Programme” which helps local businesses to identify what they are doing well to promote and support the health of their employees. It also helps them to identify any gaps and areas for improvement in the workplace.  The programme also offers a wide range of support and opportunities, such as access to free mental health training. The programme brings health partners and businesses together, using evidence-based tools and guidance to make a real difference to people’s wellbeing.

I hope my enthusiasm and passion for this area of work shines through, helping others to engage and work towards improving health and wellbeing at both an individual and organisational level.

What area(s) of public health are you the most passionate about?

I love many areas, but I am most passionate about promoting movement - Physical activity!  For me, it brings about so many benefits and impacts massively on our mental health as well as our musculoskeletal health!  My number one for sure!

How did you find out about RSPH and what do you enjoy most about your membership?

I was working on the Healthy Workplace Programme in Cornwall and my Director of Public Health encouraged me to apply for the RSPH Health & Wellbeing Award in Workplace Health.  At that time the award assessments involved a site visit and interview - I was delighted to achieve the 3 year award level, which was a fantastic and a special moment in my career.  Following this, I have been asked annually to be part of the assessment panel for the RSPH Health & Wellbeing Awards, Health & Wellbeing in Workplaces category. It’s been a huge privilege and something I look forward to.  It’s great to be part of the RSPH and to attend the awards event in October as they are always amazing and inspiring. 

What do you do to take care of your own health and wellbeing? 

I truly believe we have to practice what we preach and lead by example to role model those positive behaviours!  So, living in Cornwall I feel so lucky to have access to many green and blue spaces.  I love to walk on the coast paths, I cycle a lot with my family, I attend 3 bootcamp sessions per week and love to Stand Up Paddleboard (especially with my daughter).  My nine year old twins keep me very busy too and as a family we love to be active and outdoors as much as we can. I also love to read and travel.  

Rachel is an assessor of the RSPH Health & Wellbeing AwardsFind out more about 20 October awards and the shortlist of finalists championing public health. If you would like to attend the awards virtually, you can also sign up for the livestream.