Goodison, Everton FC stadium

Edge Hill is aiming to improve the health and wellbeing of Everton Football Club’s workforce by undertaking a unique research project with the club.

The study, which is the first of its kind to be conducted by a professional football club, asks staff to complete a survey on a range of topics including their sleep patterns, exercise regimes and diet.

The findings will be used to develop an improved wellbeing programme that is tailored to the needs of employees and ultimately aims to enhance health at work and quality of life.

Denise Barrett-Baxendale, Deputy Chief Executive of Everton Football Club, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for staff to help shape the Club’s health and wellbeing offering. We are wholly committed to providing all of our employees with a wellbeing programme that will enable them to be healthy and happy, both in and out of the workplace, and this informed approach allows us to offer activities that suit the lifestyles and needs of our workforce. Also, as a Club with a history of firsts, we are proud to become the first football club to undertake such an innovative and beneficial study alongside a fantastic academic university like Edge Hill.”

Researchers at the University are leading the project as part of their long-standing partnership with the Blues.

Once they have garnered an understanding of the overall health of the organisation, the research team will identify key topic areas to be discussed in a second phase involving focus groups to explore the type of wellbeing activities employees would like to see within their organisation.

Lawrence Foweather, Senior Lecturer in Sport, Physical Activity & Health said: “We are delighted to be supporting Everton Football Club with the development of an innovative health at work programme to encourage and support employees to live healthy lifestyles. Employees can spend a large proportion of their waking hours at work, and so it is fantastic that Everton recognise their responsibility for the health and well-being of employees. A healthy workforce is not only beneficial for staff, but can result in financial benefits for employers, including reduced sick leave, as well as increased productivity and staff retention. The research, which will involve employees in developing plans and designing programmes, will produce a series of recommendations that can be put into practice, ensuring changes are appropriate and relevant to Everton Football Club and complement wider strategies to improve health and well-being.”

Postgraduate student David Hewson said: “I’m pleased to be a part of the employee health and wellbeing research at Everton Football Club. This research is part of my MRes (Masters of Research) degree and has been educational both in terms of learning how ‘real’ research is carried out in the academic world and also, how a globally recognised organisation like Everton FC operates. I look forward to discovering what results come from the research and how the partnership between Edge Hill University and Everton FC develops in the future.”

The partnership between Everton and Edge Hill dates back to 2013 when the Blues’ official charity teamed up with the university to undertake research-led projects and student academic placements, in a bid to improve the programmes that Everton in the Community offer to the local community.

A five-year collaboration was officially launched in May 2014 to continue this research, specifically in the areas of public health and physical activity, sport policy and community sport development.