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A new scheme to enable small and medium-sized enterprises, or ‘SMEs’, to access health and well-being support is being launched today by the Welsh Government.

First published:
1 June 2023
Last updated:

Ministers are providing £8 million to deliver the new In-Work Support Service across Wales over the next two years.

The service will provide free access to therapeutic support for employees of SMEs or the self-employed. Support will be available for people who are absent or at risk of becoming absent from work with mental or physical ill-health, with the aim of helping them to remain in or return to work. The scheme will also be available to third sector employers.

Therapeutic support will be provided for common musculoskeletal conditions, including physiotherapy, osteopathy, chiropody and podiatry. Mental health support will also be offered, including counselling and stress management.

The service builds on a previous European-funded service which provided support in parts of north Wales and Swansea Bay until December 2022.

The new scheme will operate across the whole of Wales for the first time, enabling up to 7,000 people to potentially be supported.

Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing, Lynne Neagle, said:

Businesses increasingly appreciate the link between wellbeing and a happy and productive workforce, and the economic benefits that investing in activities which promote good health bring to a business or organisation.

This new scheme will enable businesses who lack occupational health services of their own to access important support for their employees or themselves. I’m looking forward to seeing smaller business’ across Wales, and their workers, benefit from the support of the new In-Work Support Services, which will now be available across the whole of Wales for the first time.

The new scheme supports the aims of the Welsh Government’s Plan for Employability and Skills. Launched in 2022, the plan sets out how the Welsh Government will support people with a long-term health condition into or back into work, by preventing people falling out of employment through health prevention, early intervention, and healthy workplaces.

Minister for Economy, Vaughan Gething, added:

As part of our work to reduce economic inactivity, we’re taking action to support people to stay in work and those further away from the labour market to find employment.

This scheme will be crucial in helping prevent people from losing their job due to work-limiting health conditions and will help people remain in work or return to work sooner. This will be a real benefit to the employee, employer and the wider economy.

David Evans, General Manager at Cwmni Da, a business which benefited from the regional programme, said:

Just before the Pandemic we started to get to know RCS, the local provider, and the services and support they provided. A number of staff attended an online course, and the support we have had since then has been great.

Not only did the company train four members of our staff to become Wellbeing facilitators, they were also at the end of the phone to offer both practical and professional advice. Over the past few months we have realised that we need to train two or three more as wellbeing facilitators.

We at Cwmni Da are delighted to be associated with the programme, and would recommend to any company seeking help and advice within the wellbeing and back-to-work remit.