Boots – who knew her name?

Not those boots! – the other household name we’ve all grown-up with – Boots the chemist.

The Sunday supplements of a leading broadsheet newspaper had an inspiring piece on a woman who made a serious difference in setting Boots on a path of social inclusion breaking previous commercial barriers.

Florence Boots, married to Jesse, son of founder John Boots, had a steely determination and a unique ability to see social justice, doing the right thing and business were not separate entities but essential elements in disrupting the norm to deliver better results for all – an alien idea for 1879!

In 1897, Florence drove beauty at Boots – unheard of at the time. An anecdote from archivist Sophie Clapp told how Jesse and Florence argued over whether beauty or healthcare should have the biggest space. Story goes that Jesse won but Florence installed a huge mirror so anyone at the healthcare counter saw the beauty display!

Thinking outside the box like this is typical business practice today.

Florence’s ideas for improvements to both business and community continued. In 1898, Florence introduced a subscription service – Booklovers’ Library to make books more accessible. She went on to install cafes in the Boots stores – remember there were no Starbucks or Costas then – to give a safe meeting space.

This socially conscious thinking extended to staff as well as customers. Free hot chocolate was provided each morning as Florence recognised many staff couldn’t afford breakfast before coming to work and provided them with a hot meal at lunchtime. A school and gym was built for staff and Boots was one of the first to introduce the five day working week.

Now we have Instagram and Twitter etc to show inspirational quotes. Back then, Florence wrote inspirational poems directly to staff.

All of this social justice for staff and the community grew the brand to such an extent, Florence was made a Board Director in 1917 – a rarity at the time. Growing the brand still further, Florence and Jesse sold-up and retired in 1921 but the brand still carries their name today if not all the initiatives in the same form Florence instigated.

One of her lasting legacies is student halls at Nottingham University which she personally funded at the time for women to get access to higher education during an era when it was much more difficult than today. The Halls still stand and are known as FloBo House.

https://www.studentcrowd.com/hall-l1004971-s1044556-florence-boot-hall-university_of_nottingham_the-nottingham

In the enduring negativity of Covid-19, this piece of journalism inspired hope in me for the future. I believe humans with drive, determination and a sense of social justice will overcome any barrier. We can learn a lot from Florence and other past trailblazers.

Are we going to sit around moaning about ‘our lot’? Or are we going to do something about it?

Florence’s image above curtesy of You Sunday supplement. Who knew her name? Now you do.

Modern Slavery & Human Trafficking – What I’ve learnt….

Today I did an online two hour course by High Speed Training – and thankfully passed!

 

The modules were broken down into clear, informative parts for the lay person.  We all make assumptions about terms such as ‘Modern Slavery’ ‘Trafficking’ ‘Exploitation’.  The misconception is this goes on in hidden areas – not in our circles.  However, key industries these issues have been found in include hospitality, fishing, factory work, food processing, leaflet delivery, tarmac, paving, agriculture, cannabis farms (these are in residential houses), domestic servitude, sex industry and criminal gangs – ATM thefts etc.

 

In 2000 the UN met in Palermo, Italy to agree three protocols.  Clearly 18 years later, the problem is still there.  So learning some possible signs and what agencies to involve has got to be a good thing.  Knowledge is power after all.

 

Learning about the tools used by traffickers, including religious beliefs, has been an eye opener.  Equally understanding and supporting someone who has experienced any kind of trauma/abuse can be misunderstood as lying due to not always being able to recall events easily or in the right order.  We must remember trauma interferes with this process – people aren’t always lying.

 

Let’s not assume.

 

If you are interested in doing this online course check out http://www.highspeedtraining.co.uk.

 

 

MHFA Lite – Introduction to Mental Health

This is a three-hour workshop comprising a foundation of knowledge on the area of Mental Health First Aid.

 

Key areas covered in this comprehensive course include:

 

  • Language & Stigma
  • What is Mental Health?
  • Some common Mental Health issues
  • Supporting people in distress
  • Personal wellbeing

 

The 17 delegates were from all levels of staff at a global professional services Firm based close to London Bridge.

 

Interaction flowed as knowledge was shared through the Graffiti Wall, Stress Container, personal experience films and colleague discussion.

 

It’s always a ‘wait with baited breath’ moment until the evaluation forms have been analysed to see how well the course and me, the instructor, were received……

 

Firstly a few thoughts on the course:

‘Amazing course, felt very emotional during the training.  Feeling more optimistic about how to approach mental health and well being’

‘A good course  which brought home the importance of caring for yourself whilst caring for others’

‘Fantastic training’

 

& The Instructor:

”Well delivered, good level of audience participation’

‘Clear and approachable, created a comfortable environment for questions’

‘Passionate & easy to follow’

Rated  very good (top mark) by 12 of the 17 and Good (second highest) by the remaining 5.

 

I look forward to the next course on 9 June 2017

 

Get in touch for more information on mental health & wellbeing training available…..

 

 

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