GB Railfreight does its bit to tackle the stigma of mental health

GBRf’s Wellbeing Champions embarking on their first training session with Suffolk Mind in February.

GB Railfreight is delighted to be marking Mental Health Awareness Week (18 May – 24 May) which champions the theme of kindness, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Like many organisations, GB Railfreight is passionate about trying to break down the stigma relating to mental health and as a company it seeks to create environments where people feel no shame or embarrassment to speak up if they are not ok.

2020 has been a breakthrough year for GBRf’s mental health strategy. It has seen the leading rail freight company work with incredible organisations and influencers such as a Suffolk Mind and Paul McGregor at Every Mind at Work. GBRf has now recruited and trained 45 Wellbeing Champions across the business who act as friendly ears to staff and signpost the free mental health support GBRf offer. This includes professional counselling sessions and access to resources to improve overall wellbeing, as well as the Wellness Centre hosted on GBRf’s Employee Benefits platform.

Marking Mental Health Awareness Week, John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“GB Railfrieght remains committed to ensuring all employees can take care of their mental health, especially at this time. Each day we are astounded by the kindness our staff demonstrate to each other and we feel fortunate that collectively that kindness has seen us reach out to communities through our Benefacto staff volunteering scheme and seen us raise over £180,000 for charities in the past year.

 “Statistics show that quarter of people will experience a mental health issue each year, it’s a statistic too big to ignore and our mission is to normalise conversation around mental health, not only in the workplace but to encourage people to discuss their mental health within their households, which is why we also offer our free mental health benefits to the immediate family members of our staff.

“We understand that the coronavirus has brought many new challenges on our mental health such as isolation, concerns over the health of ourselves and loved ones and challenges faced with learning to adapt to new ways of life. Our mission is to instil as much support and transparency as we can to our staff whilst the UK overcomes this virus. We will actively place our staff’s wellbeing firmly in the forefront of our plans during this time and continue to communicate openly and supportively and be sensitive to those challenges faced. As a business, we will champion the efforts of the amazing work mental health charities and industry bodies carry out to raise awareness of mental health issues.”

GBRf wants its staff to feel there is a safe, welcoming and open environment to talk about their mental health and gain access to the best support it can offer. GBRf is committed to placing a big spotlight on mental health both internally through its workplace strategies and through its external presence on social media.

GB Railfreight Announce New Infrastructure Manager

GB Railfreight is delighted to announce the appointment of Alex Kirk as General Infrastructure Manager. Alex began his new role this week.

This appointment marks a very exciting time for GBRf.  Over the last few years the business has enjoyed a long period of growth and now has turnover in excess of £200 million a year and operate over 1,000 trainloads a week, moving approximately 23% of the UK’s rail cargo. The infrastructure team is set to play a leading role in supporting the recovery of the railway post COVID-19.

Alex joins GBRf from Network Rail where he began his career as a graduate in the Commercial Freight team. In the six and a half years there, Alex worked as Freight Manager in Wales and then sponsored freight enhancement projects in the South.

In this role, Alex led the Felixstowe branch line project, helping to reshape the project to a successful conclusion.  He finally became Route Logistics Manager in SCO for Wessex, a position where he found himself being the customer for the team he will now go to manage.

Alex brings with him knowledge of Network Rail as well as of the drivers for CP6 and the pressures they face. He has developed strong relationships across Network Rail and Transport for London, which will be key in his new role.

Liam Day, GB Railfreight’s Commercial Director, said:

“The railway has an important role to play in helping the UK to recover from the COVID-19 crisis and our infrastructure team will be playing a significant role in supporting the sector. I am extremely pleased that Alex has joined us as the team’s General Infrastructure Manager. Alex brings great knowledge of the things that are most important to our customers and a real desire to make a difference. He is a fantastic addition to the team.” 

 Alex Kirk said:

I am absolutely delighted to be appointed General Infrastructure Manager. Having worked with GBRf as a customer I can’t wait to get stuck in and see if from the other side. This is an unusual time to start a new job, but I am looking forward to working with the team to help our customers in delivering recovery and future growth for the railway in the UK. I am thrilled to be part of the GBRf family!”

GB Railfreight Capt. Tom Moore miniature train raises £140,000 for NHS

GB Railfreight, one of the UK’s leading rail freight operators, has teamed up with model manufacture Hornby Hobbies to make a miniature version of the locomotive it named after Capt. Tom Moore last week to raise money for the NHS.

Having seen the reaction to the unveiling of the 129-tonne, Class 66 freight locomotive named in Capt. Moore’s honour last Thursday to mark his 100th birthday, Hornby asked GB Railfreight if they could replicate their loco in miniature form with all profits being donated to the NHS as a thank you for the work frontline staff are doing during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Having initially planned to make only 500 models, Hornby found it impossible to keep up with demand, and in less than 48 hours they had sold more than 2,500. Since then, they have added 1,000 more to their stocks, and a percentage of the sales will be given to NHS charities. So far the model of the GBRf locomotive produced by Hornby has raised £140,000.

GB Railfreight is playing its part in supporting the UK’s COVID-19 response by helping to keep essential services running across the country and ensuring that warehouses and supermarkets remain stocked, and vital medical supplies are transported across the country whilst ensuring all of our team are being kept as safe as possible.

The full-size Captain Tom Moore locomotive has already been playing its part to help the COVID-19 recovery by hauling loads, including containers carrying PPE gloves, from Southampton to distribution centres around the country.

Bob Tiller, Engineering Director of GB Railfreight said:

“We are delighted that the Captain Tom Moore locomotive ably reproduced by Hornby, has been such a success and sales have helped raise more money for NHS charities supporting our wonderful NHS heroes as we deal with the ongoing pandemic.  The popularity of the model shows what an inspiration, Captain Tom Moore has been to us all.

“The speed at which the 3,500 miniature locos had been sold is testament of the whole railway community, including railway enthusiasts’, appreciation for the work of the NHS during this period.

“I hope that this locomotive will be a cherished reminder on model railways for years to come of the debt we owe to the NHS and the important role that the railway and freight services have been playing in helping the UK through this crisis.”

Simon Kohler, Marketing & Product Development Director at Hornby Hobbies, said:

“Like others, we at Hornby were inspired by the achievements of the amazing Captain, now Colonel Tom Moore and we were so pleased that GB Railfreight, Porterbrook, Procast Foundry and Railwayana Auctions teamed up to create a special livery on one of GB Railfeight’s Class 66 locomotives.

“As a special thank you to Col. Tom Moore and the NHS, Hornby will be producing as a limited edition, 3500 models of locomotive 66 731, ‘Capt. Tom Moore – A True British Inspiration’ the sales of which will generate £140,000 which will be donated to the NHS Charities with our heartfelt appreciation in what they are doing for us all.”