Wellbeing’s the word: Yorkshire heritage textile mill introduces menopause training

A 240-year-old heritage textile mill based in Stanningley, West Yorkshire, has introduced menopause training for employees in managerial roles across the business.

The training is part of AW Hainsworth’s commitment to wellbeing in the workplace, with the business setting out a significant investment strategy for employee wellbeing, over the next five years. The Company partnered with its Law Firm, Pannone Corporate of Manchester, which has established a training framework for managers and supervisors. This aims to raise awareness of the symptoms of menopause, assess and improve HR Policies and Procedures to ensure consistent support is offered and equip Managers with the knowledge and tools they need to support employees with menopause-related problems.

AW Hainsworth was established in 1783 and manufactures exquisite woollen cloth, high-performing textiles, and iconic fabrics for customers worldwide. The Royal Warrant Holder and textile manufacturer is the parent company of Hainsworth Fabric of a Nation, Hainsworth Protective Fabrics, Hainsworth Toptable, Natural Legacy by Hainsworth, John Atkinson, Hainsworth Technical Felt, Northern Rubber by Hainsworth, and Replin by Hainsworth.

Phil Pickard, a team leader at AW Hainsworth, found the training invaluable and explains: “I was at work one day and noticed that a colleague who I’ve known for a long time wasn’t her usual self and seemed quite upset. I asked her what was wrong, and it all came out – she was going through menopause and having a rough time at work because of it.”

“Having had the Menopause Training the week before, I asked how her job could be changed to suit her needs and put a plan together to help her going forward. The training really opened my eyes and helped me to understand how if someone going through menopause doesn’t have support, it could be critical to their well-being. It also gave me guidance as to how I, as a man, can speak to my female colleagues about this and offer support as best I can.”

In addition to menopause training, the business has also invested over £20,000 in mental health support, forming a partnership with Unmasked Mental Health of Halifax. Monthly sessions are held in the Mill, whereby members of the workforce can participate in insightful presentations and talks on mental health and well-being. The training has seen more than 10% of AW Hainsworth employees qualify as Mental Health First Aiders in the last year alone. The Business also provides free of charge private counselling within the Mill, to those who need this the most.

Amanda McLaren, Managing Director at AW Hainsworth, said: “By removing the stigma around mental illness and putting strategies and signposting in place, alongside the qualified support offered to us by our partners, I am hoping we can make a positive difference to many of our colleagues’ lives.”

To further support employee wellbeing and continue to make AW Hainsworth a desirable workplace, the business has also invested in improving and creating new shared spaces, enhancing internal communications channels, introducing awards for long service and ensuring the availability of free period products at its headquarters in Leeds.

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