Leading by example with wellbeing

As a community foundation, Two Ridings provides funding for many critical organisations in and around North and East Yorkshire to help improve the wellbeing of local people. It is at the core of our organisational ethos, and Celia, our new CEO, is also keen for us to ‘walk the talk’. 

So after an exceptionally busy period at the Foundation, the Two Ridings team recently came together for an afternoon of wellbeing activities, followed by an evening together to say thank you to two much-loved team members moving on to new challenges. 

Celia wanted to celebrate our collective efforts navigating a period of organisational change, and she was eager for us to take a break from our to-do lists, and do something nourishing and restorative together, in a beautiful place. 

group of people standing behind a table full of flowers

We went to the gorgeous Pool Bridge Farm, a short distance from York, with its lakes for wild swimming, nature trails and an on-site cafe. We shared food, worked with and learnt about flowers with our very own Harriet, and enjoyed a nature walk led by a local ranger from Lower Derwent Nature Reserve. 

It was lovely to spend time together doing activities that weren’t focused on our everyday work. 

Celia commented: 

“I have come into an organisation with a culture where everyone is valued and shares their joys and struggles. There is real collective care here, and I want to nurture that.  I think that taking deliberate time out once in a while to do something joyful together is really important in sustaining and building our culture, so that we don’t take it for granted. 

We know it can be hard to find the time and resources for these kinds of activities, especially for grassroots groups who are working ‘on the coal face’ with very limited funds. We are grateful to be able to do a relatively simple, low cost activity for a few hours that left us all with a bit of a glow.” 

Each of the team came away with a jam jar of beautiful homegrown flowers, knowledge of wildlife some of us didn’t know existed (look at the moth below!) and a peaceful feeling of being part of a team that cares. 

collage of people enjoying a wellbeing afternoon in nature

We reconvened later at a local wine spot to pass on our thank yous and farewells to Fran, who is moving on to a financial role at KYRA Women’s Project in York and Isabelle who is heading back into the world of finance at Cardale Asset Management in Harrogate. It was also wonderful to welcome Vicky to the Two Ridings team. 

There was laughter and tears and a further appreciation of one another. 

The afternoon has sparked a renewed sense of looking after our collective wellbeing here at Two Ridings. We know that a holistic approach to wellbeing is about structures and systems, as well as about behaviours and activities. As we develop a longer-term approach, we have decided to make some quick and tangible changes to help us on our way, such as more plants and movement sessions coming to the office, short walks encouraged and the next wellbeing day already firmly in the diary.  

Collage of people at a wine bar

A big thank you to Pool Bridge Farm for hosting us for the afternoon, Harriet and Gathered at Dusk for sharing flowers and flower wisdom, Jorvine in Fulford for wonderful cheese and hosting, and to Craig Ralston from Lower Derwent Valley Natural Nature Reserve for leading our nature walk.

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