PICTURE OF HEALTH: SCHS health promotion officer Sarah Can, left, and CEO Simone Held are proud of the organisation’s healthy progress.

Sunraysia Community Health Services is the first workplace in Mildura to receive Victorian Government recognition for creating an active workforce in the Healthy Workplaces Achievement Program.

The Healthy Workplaces Achievement Program is a free Victorian Government health and wellbeing program delivered by Cancer Council Victoria. There are more than 1000 workplaces across Vic-toria currently signed up to the program and making healthy changes!

Workplaces that join are supported to achieve targets that address key health areas including healthy eating, mental health and well-being, physical activity, smoking, and alcohol and other drugs.

When targets for each health area are achieved, workplaces can receive Victorian Government recognition.

SCHS, an organisation dedicated to promoting health and wellbeing for the Mildura community, has also been ‘’walking the talk’’ by mobilising its 200-strong workforce to practise healthy lifestyles through its work in the Achievement Program.

Since 2013, it has met best-   practice targets to achieve recognition for the health areas of healthy eating and physical activity, with ongoing efforts to address other program health areas.

Health promotion officer at SCHS, Sarah Carn, attributes the health and well-being success to strong leadership support and a good workplace culture.

“Our organisation provides a culture where employees’ feel safe to try new things, even though it may not work – and that’s OK! Our biggest supporter in encouraging healthy lifestyles and taking part in new initiatives is our CEO, Simone Heald, and her backing helps to set the positive tone towards workplace health and well-being,” Ms Carn said.

Ms Heald said plenty of initiatives had been introduced – some big and some small – to help deliver a coordinated approach to creating a more active workforce.

“We are simply not sedentary at work and keeping active is synonymous with our daily jobs. We have sit-stand workstations, a centralised printing location to encourage staff to move around the office, change rooms with showers and bike racks to promote active transport, walking meetings and physical activity throughout the day, and an e-bike that staff can book and use,” Ms Heald said.

Staff are also given opportunities to take part in community initiatives such joining the local parkrun program twice a year, enjoying a weekly Heart Foundation walking group, challenging themselves in a biannual MS SimAthon, annual participation in the 10,000 Steps Challenge, which encourages staff to take 10,000 steps every day, and an internal workplace push up challenge.

According to Ms Carn, the suite of activities is well supported by all staff and helps to strengthen working relationships as well as connections with the local community.

“Together, staff have enjoyed the team building aspects of getting active. As physical activity attributes to positive workplace mental health and wellbeing, we have the environment to support staff to have a go,” she said.