As well as working on the PR on a pro bono basis for national construction charity Band of Builders, I’m a trustee for the charity so it is particularly close to my heart.
In September 2021, BoB launched the Big Brew – a new national campaign to highlight the mental health crisis in the construction industry.
The campaign, set for October, will see events held across the country to help tradespeople connect and talk over a brew in a bid to remove the taboo around mental health in the sector.
BoB is encouraging tradespeople, builders’ merchants and others to hold their own ‘Big Brew’ events to encourage people within the industry to come together to discuss mental health issues and support one another, breaking down stigma around mental health – and also helping the charity fund its vital services. Major companies within the sector including Resideo (through their Honeywell Home brand); Jewson; DeWalt and JW Grant have already pledged their support and are among those already planning events for October.
The campaign comes amid a mental health crisis within the industry, with the suicide rate of UK construction workers estimated to be as high as two people every day. UK construction workers are also nearly three times as likely to die by suicide than their counterparts in other industries.
Further shocking figures show that:
- In the UK alone, more than 400,000 working days were lost to mental health issues in 2018 (55% of all days lost)
- Mental health issues cost the UK construction industry approximately £37 billion every year
- A survey in 2019 found that 90% of construction managers said they had struggled with their mental health
The Big Brew aims to provide a safe environment for people to seek face-to-face support as well as helping raise funds for Band of Builders. These funds will provide a range of mental health support services aimed at members of the UK construction industry and focused on supply chain companies, small businesses and the self-employed who were recently discovered to be at higher risk than those working in larger organisations.
These services will include;
- funding dedicated industry mental health support lines
- the provision of interim counselling services to support members of the UK construction industry; provision of counselling support for Band of Builders beneficiaries and volunteers and
- the provision of 300 free mental health awareness course places for small and medium-sized businesses and the self employed. Band of Builders will also work with fellow construction charity The Lighthouse Club and partners on the Beacons campaign, which aims to increase the provision of, and access to, regional peer support groups.
After launch, with PR support from Octopus PR, the Big Brew received extensive national, regional and trade coverage, including in the London Standard, Yahoo News UK, the Press Association Newswire, Construction Mag, Roofing Today and many more.