How workplace caterers Eurest  & 14forty shine a spotlight on mental health and make it a priority

For World Mental Health Day, we spoke to Rees Bramwell, Senior Nutritionist at our partner Eurest and 14forty. Eurest brings award-winning contract catering services to businesses across the UK, who use their knowledge of how mealtimes and nutrition contribute towards good mental health to promote mentally healthy workplaces up and down the country. We checked in with Rees to find out what they’ve been doing to prioritise mental health as we approach the last few months of the year, from amending internal policy to creating fundraising schemes.


“Supporting, championing, and nurturing positive wellbeing for both our clients as well as our own people, is at the heart of what we do at Eurest and 14forty. People assume that the busy environment of delivering high-quality workplace restaurants, is far removed from issues of mental health. But that really isn’t the case. One of the four pillars that underpin our entire business strategy is health and wellbeing, with mental health a key part of that ethos.

We’ve come to realise that food, drink, and a positive environment can have a powerful effect on workplace mental health, and these basic aspects of our day can affect our mood. This goes for our client’s’ people, as well as our teams. We are fortunate enough to have a platform called You Matter, which our staff can use to protect and maintain their wellbeing.

As part of our partnership with Mental Health UK, some of us have also enjoyed becoming mental health ambassadors, a volunteer role which aims to support, empower, and educate colleagues on mental health issues. Our weekly engagement calls now receive regular “takeovers” from the Eurest and 14forty mental health ambassadors on topics such as loneliness and grief.

There’s no doubt that the pandemic brought both of those topics to the fore at a time when life became challenging for so many people, and it would be wrong to think they have suddenly gone away just because we are now back in the workplace. In fact, the current cost of living crisis has added financial pressures to the mix, and the need for businesses to consider the mental health of their people has never been greater.

The question, of course, is what can you do to help, either as an individual or as a business?

In our case we focused on providing advice and information, and on developing a partnership with Mental Health UK to raise awareness around mental health and funds to support the charity. To begin with, we picked on coffee as a way of bringing people together. Our hot drinks campaign emphasised the benefits of taking regular breaks at work, encouraging connectivity among workers.

We also donated 5p from every cup of our ‘Coffee by Eurest’ and ‘Peak St’ brands to Mental Health UK, presenting a cheque for £21,000 after the first year. Importantly, we have also worked together to improve our mental health policies and organise fun events for employees to increase awareness of mental health at work. These have included quizzes, coffee tastings and an engagement video call, led by our mental health ambassadors. This virtual coffee morning saw 300 chefs and site managers from across the business discuss mental health and its impact – we were glad to have one of our Managing Directors, Morag Freathy, on the call to share her support. For those who were able to meet in person, our nutritionists put together a special ‘food for mood’ menu to mark the occasion – highlighting how food and mental health can go hand in hand.

When it comes to our clients’ people -the people who dine in our workplace restaurants – the focus has been on incorporating themes, resources, and marketing material from Mental Health UK into our regular ‘Wellness Wednesdays’. These aim to educate and empower people through healthy menu choices. So far, we have received excellent feedback from clients and from colleagues for this open approach, especially for the contributions from the internal ambassadors, who shared their own personal stories to inspire others.

Of course, there is a long way to go – we are only just starting out on this journey. But already the partnership is helping us to pass on that same awareness to clients, and their employees, and amplify the value of workplace wellbeing. .

So, as you can see, food, beverage and nutrition really do go hand in hand with mental health.”

To find out more about how Mental Health UK can partner with your company to integrate a supportive workplace culture and psychologically secure environment, head to our partnerships page or email us today at [email protected]

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