Introducing the Stronger Than You Think programme

Ambulance side shot

We are pleased to announce the official launch of our new wellbeing programme, Stronger Than You Think.

The Stronger than you Think Programme was born out of a set of workshops we delivered for our disabled staff population to understand their support needs during the COVID lockdown and to explore what we could do to help. We learned that we weren’t getting it right and there was more we could be doing…but we also learned that the concerns and worries that our disabled populations were talking about, also resonated with our wider staff groups:

  • Feelings of isolation and emotional disconnection due to social distancing
  • Anxiety about threats to own and family safety
  • Stress related to the direct impact of COVID on friends and family
  • Struggles with managing boundaries and juggling between home working and family life
  • Continuous Teams calls increasing a sense of presenteeism and a lack of trust from managers
  • Practical issues around working on Teams – be that lip-reading, technology challenges or impacts on daily routine
  • Disconnect between those who attended through the pandemic and furloughed or WAH staff
  • Tensions around those who have followed the rules and those who have not
  • Practical limitations of social distancing such as PPE, using the toilet etc

We also learned that there was a general lack of understanding about the available support EEAST offers all staff (something we really want to address) …and a subtle sense that certainly some managers have maintained high demands on staff and paid lip-service to staff wellbeing - as a ‘nice to have’ rather than an essential requirement.

Given the scrutiny that the organisation has recently been under around our culture, this is not something we would like to think that any member of staff would believe…but we can only shift that perception by role modelling and reemphasising that we care.

The philosophy behind this programme is not to rush out and rescue all our people from the stresses and strains that COVID has brought us – we cannot achieve this, and we do not believe it to be a sustainable or resilient solution either short or longer term. There is a careful balance to be struck between supporting our staff and helping them to support themselves and to build resilience internally.  Research suggests that resilience needs to be a choice made by an individual and supported by a community…and the programme we have designed supports that philosophy.

The starting point for the Stronger Than You Think programme is an online diagnostic tool which emails each participant a personalised Resilient Strengths report outlining their relative strengths and development areas.  This begins a journey of what is called “Self-Directed Change” – by helping an individual to better understand where their thoughts or behaviours can undermine or build resilience, we create energy to learn and grow higher levels of resilience.

From this energy, we then provide participants with a range of self-help tools – videos to watch, podcasts to listen to whilst walking or driving, reading materials, online links to explore and places to connect with one another.  In this way we build space and support for individual resilience to grow from existing strengths – rather than assuming a ‘sheep dip’ approach to skills building for all.

We are currently in the process of introducing the campaign to line managers and will be sharing further details with staff over the coming weeks. If you have any questions in the meantime, please contact

Published 16th June 2021