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Leonardo employees’ race to put wellbeing in first place

Yeovil employees working at aerospace engineering company Leonardo have smashed an international target for a challenge that asked them to prioritise their health and wellbeing, an increasingly important theme due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Leonardo, which has a site at Lysander Road in Yeovil employing over 2,800 people, participated in a global ‘Race to Space’ initiative that challenged employees around the world to clock up a joint total of 46,000km, which is the approximate distance from Earth to the Galileo Satellite Constellation and back, by any physical means.

It was a concept that resonated with many of Leonardo’s employees, since the company provides technology for the global satellite navigation systems for the Galileo satellite programme, in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA).

Employees from Edinburgh, Luton, Lincoln, Basildon, Bristol, Southampton, Yeovil joined colleagues in Italy, Poland, USA, France, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, Cyprus, Canada, and South Korea for the challenge. They cycled, ran, climbed and swam their way to almost double the target set, achieving a global total of 88,039.1km.

Tracking employees’ progress on Strava made it possible to assemble statistics that attested to the 1,508 participants’ efforts. Employees completed 4,946 activities over 5,658 hours and 55 minutes, equivalent to a total of 8 months. The elevation climbed was 827,005m, equal to climbing Mount Everest 93 times and 2,152,740 calories were burned, equivalent to 10,604 slices of rich indulgent chocolate cake.

Project Manager Rebecca Abraham said: “Yeovil Open Water Swim Team thoroughly enjoyed participating in the Race to Space challenge. Our team was a mixture of Leonardo Helicopter employees and individuals from private businesses and the MoD. We swam the mile to the bandstand and back with the view of the six cruise ships in the bay and the huge spider crabs beneath. I also met up with friends to cycle through the Somerset countryside to clock up some extra miles.”

Programmes Engineer Jeremy Fox added: “As friends and colleagues from different locations on the Yeovil site, we probably hadn’t seen each other for over a year for a chat, so it was a well-paced ride with plenty of time to catch-up and enjoy the scenery. I think that has been an important feature of the challenge, to try and reconnect with friends and colleagues that have become too remote during the COVID restrictions.”

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, employees have made extra efforts to deliver to customers, while volunteering to produce PPE for their local communities and like everyone across the country, they have been adapting to changing times.

The company has run various initiatives to encourage them to prioritise their physical and mental health and wellbeing, from seminars and blogs to guides on all aspects of wellbeing, so they maintain an ongoing awareness of its importance.

David Claridge, Lead Sponsor for the Race to Space initiative said: “Our employees have gone above and beyond in demonstrating resilience and supporting our customers, as well as the wider communities they live in. Although we chose a fun theme for the challenge, the underpinning message is a serious one. We want our employees to put their health and wellbeing in first place.”

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