GB Railfreight are celebrating another successful day at this year’s virtual Rail Business Awards following the announcement that GBRf Human Resources Manager Gemma Platt has won the Richard Hope Award.

The award marks an outstanding personal contribution in the rail sector and is named after the former Railway Gazette Editor Richard Hope, who died in October 2019.

Gemma’s drive in setting up a mental health and wellbeing programme has helped sustain the morale of her colleagues during the COVID-19 crisis. The project involved the creation, training and appointment of ‘wellbeing champions.’ These were volunteers from within the business who were trained by Suffolk MIND and act as support and listening ears to staff should they need to talk to someone in confidence. The Champions work has also led to the launch of a Mental Health support App and creation of other virtual entertainment activities aimed at improving overall wellbeing and allowing people to stay connected on a more social level during the pandemic. The timing of the launch during the pandemic has meant GBRf had support available to staff when they needed it most during some of the uncertain times the country has faced in recent memory.

Gemma was motivated to create the programme off the back of her own tragedy, after suddenly losing her husband in 2019, which is testament to her dedication, commitment and character.

GBRf Managing Director John Smith said:

“I want to extend my sincere congratulations to Gemma for winning the Richard Hope Award for her Outstanding Personal Contribution over the last year. Her success is something the whole GBRf team can be proud of.

“Gemma’s passion, professionalism and dedication, has empowered her to set up the ‘wellbeing champions/need to talk project’ and in turn has enabled GBRf to provide support surrounding mental health issues to their staff 24/7. Gemma has changed the focus of wellbeing within our company, and by using and drawing on her own personal adversity for the benefit of others, she has removed any stigma that may have existed around this very real topic.  Gemma has dedicated herself to encouraging awareness of wellbeing and mental health, and I couldn’t be prouder of her.”

Richard Hope Award winner Gemma Platt said:

“It is such an honour to win this award and I want to thank the rest of the Wellbeing Champions at GBRf for making the Mental Health project the success it become. I couldn’t have done this without your passion and commitment.

“I look forward to working with this group to continue to help normalise conversation around mental health and provide the best support possible to our staff.”

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