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The former Royal Ballet dancer helping to look after staff and volunteer wellbeing at Ashgate Hospice

A former Royal Ballet dancer has joined Ashgate Hospice to help champion a more supportive and inclusive culture for its 340 members of staff and 600 volunteers.

Ruth Bailey, aged 32, travelled the world with the Royal Ballet Company and danced alongside some of the most acclaimed dancers, including Darcey Bussell. The professional dancer retired at the age of 24 to focus on her wellbeing and is now 10 years into recovery from anorexia nervosa.

Now, as Staff and Volunteer Wellbeing Advisor, Ruth hopes to use her own experiences of poor mental and physical health to implement a robust support scheme to help make wellbeing a priority for everyone at the charity.

“My own struggles with wellbeing and the barriers I faced when accessing support has been the driving force behind my studies at university, which focused on nutrition, health and lifestyles,” said Ruth.

“I knew that I wanted to support other people to improve their health and let people know that healthy wellbeing takes work every single day.

“I believe that I am now a role model for this, which I absolutely love!”

Since her appointment in August 2021, Ruth has developed a wellbeing offer to help support staff and volunteers through the difficult winter months. This includes 1:1 wellbeing calls, group meetings on nutrition and exercise and 30-minute mindfulness sessions.

Ruth said: “Since the start of the pandemic, we have seen how people have been impacted by the changes to our work and home lives. At Ashgate, we are taking a proactive approach to addressing these issues to ensure we have a well-supported and resilient workforce.

“My ambition is to help make wellbeing a priority for everyone. It can be difficult to give yourself permission to allow time for yourself, however, I believe it’s the key to long term sustainability.

“I hope to build and promote a really strong message that wellbeing should be paramount to healthy staff and volunteers. Human beings have basic needs and I hope to give time, energy, and a safe space for people to acknowledge these in the workplace.”

The charity, which provides specialist end-of-life care to patients with complex palliative care needs across North Derbyshire, aims to normalise conversations around mental health and ensure staff and volunteers have the capability, knowledge and skills to access the support they need.

Matt Corbishley, Director of People and Performance at Ashgate Hospice said: “Supporting our staff and volunteers to stay healthy and well is a key priority for Ashgate. A healthy workplace helps our teams to deliver the very best end of life and palliative care to families across North Derbyshire.

“Supporting all our people to have a well-rounded and happier lifestyle is arguably more important now than ever before. It benefits the work we do, and the healthier habits picked up by our staff and volunteers can be passed on to those who use our services.

“We look forward to growing and developing our ambitious offering even further to ensure that everyone who works or volunteers for us is well supported in everything they do.”

If you want to join an organisation that priorities wellbeing, find out more about Ashgate Hospice and their current vacancies at www.ashgatehospice.org.uk/work-for-us

Ashgate Hospice supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 200 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

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