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Mind Body Business

Mind Body Business is a joint initiative by the Public Health Agency and Ards and North Down Borough Council that aims to benefit you, your business and your employees, by providing a series of initiatives that encourages employers to put “health” at the centre of their business agenda.

Get Active Advice

At the beginning of November, there was a focus towards National Stress Awareness Day. The Health Development Specialist from the SE Trust has shared a few stress relieving exercises to help relieve stress and get active as you go through your working day:

  • Get Active, Take a walk -  A quick walk around the block creates an opportunity to get fresh air, stretch your legs and clear your thoughts, and then return to your work with renewed focus.
  • Stretch - If your job involves sitting down looking at a screen all day, stretching every hour or so is important to help prevent postural problems.
  • Breathe deeply – Deep Breathing (also known as diaphragmatic breathing) has proven health benefits. It encourages a full exchange of incoming oxygen and outgoing carbon dioxide and signals to your nervous system to calm down.
  • Practice mindfulness - So, what is mindfulness? Quite simply, it means the mind is present to what is happening in the moment. Think about it for a minute – is your mind in several places at once?
  • Visualize a happy place - A quick mental break can do wonders and visualisation is a great technique for relieving stress at work. If you can’t get outside for a quick walk, find a quiet space in the office, close your eyes for a minute or two and visualise a place that makes you feel calm and happy.
  • Laugh - It’s no joke, laughter really is just what the doctor ordered when it comes to stress relief exercises at work. Not only does it lighten the load mentally, laughter also enhances your intake of oxygen (we know from the deep breathing that’s a good thing), it stimulates your heart and other organs, and increases the release of endorphins from the brain (the body’s natural feel-good chemicals).
  • Perform exercises at your desk, such as seated leg raises, calf raises, and chair dips

Please see the Get Active at Work Flyer from the SE Trust - if you can, please print this out or share an electronic copy with your colleagues at work.

The Mind Body Business Programme have a number of dumbbells available that you can avail of to encourage your staff to move a little move throughout the working day this winter. Why not incorporate 5-10 minutes into your next team meeting or lunchbreak to complete some group dumbbell exercises – these will provided on a first come first served basis (maximum 8 per business). To request dumbbells for your business, please email .


The Mind Body Business 2023-24 Programme

This year’s scheme is offering a small grant of financial support, up to £250 (per business), to businesses based in Ards and North Down Borough who are interested in providing a workplace health and well-being initiative for their employees. 
Why should you take part? 

  • Employee illness, chronic poor health, low job satisfaction and high turnover leads to low productivity and lost business earnings, Happy workers are 12% more productive.  
  • Encouraging healthy habits now can prevent serious health conditions later and save your business money in the long run.  

  • Improving morale and health does not have to cost a fortune. 

Criteria for funding

Any suitable initiative should provide an opportunity for employees to make healthy choices and introduce lifestyle improvements following the Take 5 Steps to Wellbeing approach which helps maintain and improve wellbeing. The 5 steps are: Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning and Give. 
Grants will only be offered on a first come first served basis to companies who meet the criteria. Priority will be given to new applicants.

  1. Initiatives should be easily sustained by the individual or employer on completion of an expression of interest form.  

  1. Entrants shall agree to source a local provider from the Ards and North Down Borough Council area where possible, regional charitable providers can also be used. 

  1. Entrants shall agree to complete an evaluation and submit receipts for payment on completion of the initiative. 

  1. Entrants must be located in the Ards and North Down Borough Council area. 

  1. Must provide full details of proposed initiative and include ALL costs.   

  1. One Expression of Interest Form may be made per business and can propose more than one activity provided the total cost does not exceed £250. 

  1. State Aid/ Subsidy Control Declaration and Evaluation must be completed and returned once your initiative is complete for your reimbursed payment to be processed. 

The following will not be considered for funding: membership fees, beauty treatments, team building events, taxi, transport costs or other costs not associated with this grant and deemed ineligible by the Council.

Suggestions for Initiatives following the Take 5 Approach to Wellbeing include: 

  1. Provide free fruit and snacks for your workforce. One portion of fruit/day (banana or apple). Provide a free healthy breakfast on a Friday.  

  2. Take 45 minutes off as a business to try a Pilates or yoga class 

  3. Offer free health checks to employees 

  4. Run a 15-minute lunchtime walk twice a week. Attendees can collect their free dried fruit or nut bag on their return.  

  5. Pay for you and your employees to go swimming once/week. Approx. cost for the month of swimming for five employees would be £60. A month of football (five-a-side 1/week for 4 weeks) £80. A month of Badminton for four 1/week is £80 

  6. Engage a trainer to provide a session or series of sessions for employees regarding mindfulness, stress management, mental health awareness or relaxation techniques. 

  7. Run a workshop after working hours to take Notice of what is around you and to connect with other employees e.g. Foraging workshop, walking historical tours, creative workshops, active workshops. 


This list is not exhaustive. Any activity which promotes Take 5 Steps to Wellbeing and meets the funding criteria will be considered.   

To help with your expression of interest form the council offers a research facility, that can provide contact listings of local providers.  Contact Rowena Moore, Business Researcher email  



Phase One Expression of Interest Deadline 21st August 2023 by noon   

Only forms received by this date will be considered for funding.  Due to funding limits, grants will only be offered (on a first come first served basis) to companies who meet the criteria. In the event of the small grant initiative being oversubscribed, priority will be given to new businesses who have not availed of the small grant scheme within the last year. Please Note: previous successful applicants can apply and may be placed on a reserve waiting list if they meet the criteria.     

Letter of Offer issued followed assessment 30th August 2023 by 5pm

Successful applicants will be issued a Letter of Offer and a supplier details form.  
Acceptance form and supplier form need to be returned promptly to speed up your payment process. Do NOT incur expenses for activities until you have received written approval that you will be receiving this grant. 

30th November 2023 - all initiatives must be completed by this date. 

14th December 2023 – All invoices in relation to approved & completed initiatives and a completed evaluation of the initiative should be returned as soon as possible upon completion of the activity, and no later than this date, accompanied by receipts to the full amount claimed. We aim to pay your financial support payment within 14 days. Late invoices may not be paid.

Apply here

Click here to access the online Expression of Interest form.

Mind Body Business will:

  • Raise awareness of the benefits of workplace health
  • Keep enterprises up to date on the activities of partner organisations
  • Increase workforce creativity and productivity
  • Engage and motivate your workplace to maximise performance, reduce absence rates and retain the best employees
  • Support you on your journey to make your business a better place to work, Mind Body Business is open to all employers and employees located in the borough. To sign up to the programme, please email: or call 0300 013 3333 Ext. 40333

Mind Body Business Health and Wellbeing Videos

Mind Body Business bring you a range of exercise videos to encourage you to move throughout your working day.  

Credit: Ards and North Down Borough Council

Further support:


Money and Mental Health – Poor mental health can make earning and managing your business harder. And worrying about money can make your mental health worse. It can start to feel like a vicious cycle. Discover practical tips on managing your money and improving your mental health by clicking here.  

How to stay mentally healthy at your workplace – managing how you can be mentally healthy at work and suggestions of what you can do and where to find support for poor mental health.  Find out more here.  

NHS Better Health 

Better Health – it is recommended to stay fit and healthy that we achieve 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week, or 20-30 minutes per day. A few free apps that can be downloaded on to your smartphone include ‘Couch to 5K’ and ‘Active 10.’ Click here to see how you can make small changes throughout your day to increase your activity levels.   

Eat well - Eating well is fundamental to good health and well-being. Healthy eating helps us to maintain a healthy weight and reduces our risk of diet-related illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, type to diabetes and high blood pressure.  Click here for advice on Eating well.

Insula Wellbeing

Transforming Lives and Businesses Through Personalised Mental Health Support.

Health and Wellbeing Fair 2019

Health and Wellbeing Fair

The link between healthy employees and a healthy, thriving business has been well documented in recent years with those looking after staff wellbeing reporting a decrease in absenteeism and increased performance Ards and North Down Borough Council, in partnership with the Public Health Agency (PHA), held a one-day Health and Wellbeing Fair on Thursday 14 November at Ards Blair Mayne Wellbeing and Leisure Complex.

Mind Body Business (MBB) is the Ards and North Down Borough Council and Public Health Agency (PHA) project designed to help local organisations put “health” in the heart of their business.

At the health and wellbeing fair

Public Health Agency Logo on white background

Find out more

For more information on the Mind Body Business Programme please contact Maura Bettes.