Monmouthshire County Council (MCC) has held over 22 Microsoft Teams Livestream sessions - or ‘Digital Cwtches’ since the end of March.  All colleagues are invited to these virtual wellbeing sessions which are led by Chief Executive, Paul Matthews to bring colleagues together and provide support as the COVID pandemic has placed more pressures on people in their work and personal lives – it is a way to digitally connect people in a socially distanced world. 

The Digital Cwtch has proved to be an incredibly engaging channel to connect people.  Different guest speakers join each week to share their stories and support each other – volunteers and frontline workers alike have provided advice to other people. 

Over 3,000 colleagues have joined the Digital Cwtch, 150 regular Cwtch fans join every week, questions are very open, honest and varied.

Feedback has been tremendous e.g.:

“I think the Cwtch sessions are absolutely fabulous, it truly shows that MCC is an organisation that cares. It gives all staff a chance to ask their questions in such an open and honest format. It clearly show that MCC has not got the approach of other authorities where its often what you know, is based on who you know or who your manager is. In MCC it feels like everyone is receiving the same information.” 

“…I feel senior managers genuinely care about the community we serve and are prioritising staff wellbeing.” 

“Found it really useful and inspiring – very good at bringing you into the fold of the wider Monmouthshire organisational Team”

Abby Barton, Communications, Engagement and Marketing Manager who developed the concept as part of a colleague communications strategy said: “The Digital Cwtch is for colleagues, it’s about supporting them and giving them a voice. Anyone can ask any question they like, and people have been given honest answers – regardless of the topic. It’s an instant way to connect with people, find out how they’re feeling and feed straight back into our strategy based on how things are going. We’ve covered a range of topics including mental health and wellbeing, mindfulness and the importance of taking a break – bereavement support and counselling information has been shared to help colleagues and their families. Different services areas have been celebrated by hearing from people from a variety of teams including – colleagues who support volunteers, small businesses, carers, schools, leisure centres, youth service, building control, community hubs and more.

“Everyone needs a Cwtch - as long as colleagues keep turning up digitally on a Friday, we’ll be there with a smile, empathy, honest updates and a few laughs along the way! As Robyn Benincasa said “You don’t inspire your teammates by showing them you are amazing. You inspire them by showing them how amazing they are.” And that’s what the Cwtch is all about.”

If anyone would like to find out more please contact abigailbarton@monmmouthshire.gov.uk or Tweet me @abigail_barton

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