ND Recruitment Services https://www.new-directions.co.uk Education, Social Care, Care & Support and Pharmacy Recruitment & Training Tue, 09 Jun 2020 11:10:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 161681595 Look after your mental health and wellbeing if you are staying home https://www.new-directions.co.uk/blog/2020/06/look-after-your-mental-health-and-wellbeing-if-you-are-staying-home/ Tue, 09 Jun 2020 10:59:12 +0000 https://www.new-directions.co.uk/?p=6388 Plan your day

We are all adjusting to a new, rather strange, way of life at the moment. This can be a risk to our mental wellbeing.

As tempting as it might be to stay in our pyjamas all day, regular routines are essential for our identity, self-confidence and purpose.

Try to start your day at roughly the same time you usually would and aim to set aside time each day for movement, relaxation, connection and reflection.

Move more every day

Being active reduces stress, increases energy levels, which can make us more alert and help us sleep better.

Explore different ways of adding physical movement and activity to your day and find some that work best for you.

Even at home, there will be lots of ways to exercise and keep your body moving.

Try a relaxation technique

Relaxing and focusing on the present can help improve your mental health and lighten negative feelings.

Try some breathing exercises to see what helps. For example, sometimes we can be so tense that we do not even remember what being relaxed feels like.

Two breathing exercises to choose from:

First – 4-7-8 technique, focus on the following breathing pattern:

  • empty the lungs of air
  • breathe in quietly through the nose for 4 seconds
  • hold the breath for a count of 7 seconds
  • exhale forcefully through the mouth, pursing the lips and making a “whoosh” sound, for 8 seconds
  • repeat the cycle up to 4 times

Second – Deep Breathing

  • Get comfortable. You can lie on your back in bed or on the floor with a pillow under your head and knees
  • Breathe in through your nose. Let your belly fill with air
  • Breathe out through your nose
  • Place one hand on your belly
  • As you breathe in, feel your belly rise
  • Take three more full, deep breaths

Connect with others

Staying at home, especially if you live on your own, can feel lonely. Find creative ways to keep in touch with fellow team members, friends, family, and others to help you (and them) feel more connected and supported.

Explore ways of connecting that work for you, whether that’s by post, over the phone, social media, teams, video-chat, face time etc. This could be anything, from sharing a cup of tea over video, or simply sending a supportive text-message.

Improve your sleep

Feelings of uncertainty and changes to daily life may mean you have more difficulty sleeping.

There is a lot you can do to improve your sleep. Aim to go to bed and get up at the same time each day, even at the weekend if you can, and try to get some natural sunlight (by opening your curtains and windows) where possible. This helps to regulate your body clock which can help you sleep better.

Wind down before bed by avoiding using your phone, tablet/iPad, computer or TV for an hour before bedtime.

We are in this together, so please drop one of us a line if you need a little extra support during this time.

Mental Health Awareness Week – Be kind to yourself https://www.new-directions.co.uk/blog/2020/05/mental-health-awareness-week-be-kind-to-yourself/ Fri, 22 May 2020 08:49:48 +0000 https://www.new-directions.co.uk/?p=6375 It’s important to be kind to yourself as well.

Whatever you can manage today is good enough. Some people feel that the lockdown is giving them the time and chance to learn new skills or try new things. This maybe you, and if so, enjoy and celebrate that.

If this isn’t you, try not to beat yourself up about what others seem to be doing. If things are hard right now, try and find some small things to celebrate each day. Getting up and washing your hair can be just as much of an achievement as someone else posting about a 5k run on Facebook.

Be kind to yourself

  • Plan in some ‘me’ time, self-care is so important. Take time to relax and reflect on how you are feeling
  • Take a break from social media for a day or two
  • Do something that you enjoy, whether that be reading a book, listening to music, or just simply making good use of your daily exercise
  • Spend some time in nature, which is good for our mental health

Take each day as it comes, don’t over plan or set unrealistic expectations on yourself. We will all have good days and bad during lockdown, therefore being kind to yourself by setting realistic milestones is important to ensure you don’t put too much pressure on yourself.

A little every day, builds up to achieving a lot at the end of the week!

Mental Health Awareness Week https://www.new-directions.co.uk/blog/2020/05/mental-health-awareness-week/ Wed, 20 May 2020 08:44:00 +0000 https://www.new-directions.co.uk/?p=6370 Mental Health awareness week this year is about raising awareness on ‘how’ important kindness is in life, especially during these strange times with the coronavirus.

Kindness is choosing to do something that helps others or yourself, and is motivated by genuine warmth and kindness.

Evidence shows that helping others can also benefit our mental health and wellbeing such as:

  • Restful sleep
  • Improved mood
  • Reduction in stress
  • Sustained happiness

The key is not to over think it!

There are many simple ways that we can be kind and help others during these times. Good deeds don’t need to cost much time or cost much money.

Helping others is thought to be one of the ways that people create, maintain, and strengthen their social connections.

So, what can you do to be kind and stay connected:

  • Pick up the phone for a chat
  • Take an interest in what you hear
  • Take notice and comment on what people are doing (baking, gardening, reading)
  • Drop someone a text, or WhatsApp message
  • Offer a listening ear if that is required (remember nobody expects you to have the answers, but a listening ear with kindness can make all the difference)
  • Arrange a get to together via Zoom, WhatsApp, or teams and have a bit of fun with a little game

It really doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you do something!

Acts of Kindness During Mental Health Awareness Week https://www.new-directions.co.uk/blog/2020/05/acts-of-kindness-during-mental-health-awareness-week/ Mon, 18 May 2020 08:47:00 +0000 https://www.new-directions.co.uk/?p=6373 Acts of kindness have the potential to make the world a happier place. We can all make a start in showing kindness to one another in our words and actions.

So where do I start, I hear you ask?

At home or in your community

  • Say I Love You as often as you can to someone that means a lot to you
  • Call a friend or a family member that you haven’t spoken to in a while
  • Write a letter or get in contact via Facebook with a someone that you have lost touch with
  • Send flowers or a favourite chocolate bar to a friend out of the blue
  • Ring someone who lives on their own or Facetime them
  • Help out around the home, whether it be with cooking/gardening/cleaning
  • Offer to help an elderly or vulnerable neighbour (adhering to social distancing, maybe with shopping, gardening, walking their dog or even putting the bins out)
  • Check in on someone that you know is having a tough time

At work

  • Remember to say ‘hi’ to colleagues and ask them how they are – whether that be face-to-face or virtually if you are working from home
  • Support one another with technology (remember it’s not everyone’s bag)
  • Make the time to setup a team catch up, maybe with a cuppa and a slice of cake (ND Bake off)
  • Be patient and understanding through these difficult times (remember everyone deals with things differently)
  • Remember to say please and thank you
  • If you say your going to do something do it!

Public areas

  • Adhere to rules on social distancing and guidelines  
  • Wish a passer-by a good morning or good afternoon (remember you maybe the only person that person see’s or speaks to all day)
  • Be considerate to others

Evidence shows that being kind really does improve wellbeing and the more you do for others, the more they are likely to do for you!

Understanding and getting a better night’s sleep https://www.new-directions.co.uk/blog/2020/05/understanding-and-getting-a-better-nights-sleep/ Sat, 09 May 2020 11:08:00 +0000 https://www.new-directions.co.uk/?p=6391 We have all had those nights when we can’t switch off from everything that is going on in our lives. During these difficult times, we would like to clarify ‘the stages of sleep’ so you can better understand your sleep pattern and also, provide you with some top tips.

Normally when you sleep, you initially enter the stage called ‘Non-Rapid Eye Movement’ (non-REM), which is ‘light sleep’ that lasts for about 25 minutes.

Following this, you enter what is known as ‘deep sleep’. Deep sleep is the really critical part of your sleep where your body repairs itself, restores energy, and releases hormones – all the good stuff!

Finally, you enter the first ‘rapid eye movement’ (REM) stage of your sleep about 90 minutes after going to bed. This is the part of your sleep when you typically dream. REM sleep is thought to be involved in the process of storing memories, learning and balancing your mood.

Because your sleep cycle repeats (normally in 90-minute cycles), you enter REM sleep several times during the night. The first period of REM typically lasts 10 minutes. After that, each REM stages gets longer and longer, with the final one potentially lasting up to an hour.

Most people need between 7-9 hours a night to ensure that they are not compromising on the quality of sleep and are completing enough sleep cycles.

Several factors can affect your sleep quality, usually by reducing the amount of deep and REM sleep we experience.

This leads to us waking up feeling exhausted. There are a number of sleep tips we can follow to prevent the quality of our sleep being compromised.

Below are some top tips to sleep better

Tips on how to sleep better
Tips on how to sleep better

We all know that when we haven’t had a great night’s sleep our mood can massively be impaired. Have a go at the top tips that have been provided, maybe keep a sleep dairy to identify any patterns, or maybe download some of the following free apps (can be download on iPhone and android)

Relax Melodies

Sleep cycle


Sleep time

Relax & sleep well

New Directions finds IT solutions during lockdown https://www.new-directions.co.uk/blog/2020/04/new-directions-finds-it-solutions-during-lockdown/ Thu, 16 Apr 2020 15:20:44 +0000 https://www.new-directions.co.uk/?p=6338 Leading Wales-based recruitment and care services group, New Directions, has reacted quickly to the complications posed by the Covid-19 lockdown by introducing a range of IT solutions to ensure its services are maintained.

The fast response has enabled the company to quickly harness the skills of candidates across all sectors and redeploy them where they are most needed – particularly in care homes and pharmacies across the UK.

While still ensuring that all safeguarding procedures remain in place, Cardiff-based New Directions has been able to use trusted video solutions for remote interviews, online signature capture, high quality scanning for identification documents and meet interim DBS and Right to Work requirements by verifying ID during video calls.

While some of the online solutions and ID validation will revert to normal Government standards when life returns to normal, the company plans to retain a number of the new, dynamic ways of working together with a new streamlined screening process.

Said New Directions’ chairman, Jeff Tune: “We are proud of the speed with which we were able to transfer our recruitment business online, and we are committed to continuous improvement. As a result, we have been able to provide candidates with the same quality of service they have come to expect from New Directions.

“We will continue with this digital transformation while ensuring that we remain compliant with all government rules and legislation. Our fast response has enabled us to redeploy candidates during this most difficult of times to where they are most needed.”

The Importance of Empathy During COVID-19 https://www.new-directions.co.uk/blog/2020/04/the-importance-of-empathy-during-covid-19/ Mon, 13 Apr 2020 10:41:00 +0000 https://www.new-directions.co.uk/?p=6381 During these difficult and strange times that we are all facing, it is easy to lose sight of ‘how’ to give support to others when most of us are working from home.

How we show empathy can make all the difference. Empathy can be defined as having the ability to share someone else’s feelings or experiences by imagining what it would be like to be in that person’s situation, whilst not jeopardising our own feelings and or values.

When we empathise with someone, we understand how they might feel, can imagine what their emotional state is like, but we do not have to feel the same way.

  • Attentive listening skills will support the deliverance of empathy

Empathic listening via phone, facetime, teams, etc is different to face to face interaction, however we can still listen with empathy. Empathic listening is not just listening, it’s about actually hearing what is being said and understanding what the other person is trying to say.

  • Environment

Our environment can also encourage empathy, therefore being mindful of this is key. Consider if your environment is right for holding a conversation, taking into consideration external factors, for example – noise, where you are sitting (is it private), lighting, mobile phones etc. Internal factors – distractions, being hungry, requiring a toilet break, tiredness, headache can also impact the quality of your conversation and the ability to provide your full attention.

  • Asking questions

It’s best to start the conversation with an open and/or neutral question. Every person criticises and judges, but for empathic listening, it’s important to avoid this as much as possible and listen without any judgement. The person speaking should not just have the feeling that they are being understood; they also need to feel safe and consider the person they are speaking to, to be reliable.

Additionally, it’s a good idea to focus on the person you are speaking with during the conversation, and don’t let yourself be distracted. A common pitfall is that you start to give advice or share your opinion. This should be avoided!

  • The power of silence

Silence allows the person time to think, and reflect on what it is they want to say. It is not always easy to get the words out, so allowing that time is vitally important.

As the listener it allows you time to listen to what is not being said, the non-verbal communication that will support your counsel.

Goals and Resolutions https://www.new-directions.co.uk/blog/2020/01/goals-and-resolutions/ Fri, 10 Jan 2020 11:43:03 +0000 https://www.new-directions.co.uk/?p=6147 Goals and resolutions

It’s that time of year again when we all think it’s a great idea to commit to new goals or make a number of resolutions, such as, going to the gym every day, starting a new diet, cutting out chocolate or carbs, and going for it with ‘Dry January’. But in reality, are they really achievable?

As we all know, making too many adjustments in our lives all at once normally results in us breaking them, which can then impact negatively on our motivation.

So, what can we do to influence a positive mindset that can have an impact on our general wellbeing in a positive way?

Here are a few ideas for you to reflect on:

  • Take the time to reflect on what it is you would like to improve
  • Reconnect or maintain strong relationships with family and friends
  • Make regular time for social contact
  • Plan ahead for meals to ensure that you have 3 meals a day
  • Eat wholesome, nutritious foods
  • Stay hydrated – aim for 2 litres of water per day
  • Understand your limitations with regards to physical activity, with a view to gently increase physical activity
  • Become involved in activities that interest you
  • Join a local group or club that appeals to you. Examples could be reading, walking, netball, badminton or running clubs
  • Set yourself achievable goals and work towards them, taking the opportunity to congratulate yourself when you have achieved a goal or a resolution
  • Try to be optimistic and enjoy each day.


At New Directions, we promote positive mental and physical health throughout the year. Therefore, please remember to use your Healthshield benefit, because this really can support a number of areas, namely:

Dental, optical, chiropractic, osteopathy, acupuncture, homeopathy, hospital benefits – MRI scans, X rays, specialist consultations, employee assistance helpline 24/7 and 8 face to face counselling sessions.  You can even get a relaxing massage or acupuncture!

To find out more about using your Healthshield benefit, visit the website – www.healthshield.co.uk – or give the friendly team a call on 01270 588555.


We also have several in-house mental health first aiders and a trainee counsellor who is on hand to provide a listening ear and support, if required.

For advice and support in work, contact Alexandra Rowlands on 02920 250160 or email her on Alexandra.Rowlands@new-directions.co.uk.

“It doesn’t matter how slowly you go, as long as you don’t stop!”

Festive Frolics Week https://www.new-directions.co.uk/blog/2019/12/festive-frolics-week/ Fri, 20 Dec 2019 15:43:59 +0000 https://www.new-directions.co.uk/?p=6079 December is in full swing and the festivities have begun. The Christmas decorations, songs and treats are out in force, and our teams at New Directions are really getting into the festive spirit. We had a fantastic turn out for Save the Children’s Christmas Jumper Day, we donated hundreds of presents for disadvantaged children in Wales through the Mr X Christmas Appeal, and we’ve had team Christmas parties jingling all the way!

Mr X Appeal

As the big day draws nearer, we’ve been excited about our Festive Frolics week – a whole week of Christmas fun in the office, marking the countdown to December 25th. Festive Frolics kicked off on Monday 16th December, with a packed schedule of entertainment for all our offices and team members to take part in throughout the last working week for some of us before Christmas.


Monday launched with the Human Christmas Tree competition. Our offices were challenged with selecting a team member to dress up as a Christmas tree using their creative flair and imaginations. They certainly dug deep and went for it, bedecking colleagues with tinsel, crepe paper, ribbons, baubles, lights and more. Our IT team were crowned winners for their creative (but rather unconventional) human Christmas tree dressed up with colourful cables and wires, starring Dan from IT.

Human Christmas Tree

The first day of Festive Frolics also saw our first Christmas recipe landing in our inboxes – warming mulled cider for chilly winter nights – and we learned about some fun and surprising Christmas traditions from around the world. Who’d have thought that people roller skate to church on Christmas day in Venezuela?!


Day two of Festive Frolics started with a competitive Christmas team quiz… do you know the names of all of Santa’s reindeer? Can you remember what gift was given on the ninth day of Christmas? How good is your knowledge of traditional Christmas foods and drinks? The teams got competitive and put their heads together to find the answers, with the Accounts team coming out as the star on top of the tree.

Tuesday also saw our second Christmas recipe arriving in our inboxes – delicious mini beef wellington tartlets which are perfect for Christmas parties – and the New Directions suggestions for must-see Christmas movies for the whole family over the festive holidays. Our favourites included Love Actually, The Holiday and Arthur Christmas.


The middle of the week came around fast with all the Festive Frolics going on. It was another fun-filled day with the Managers Wrap-Off and the Dress Up Your Door competitions taking place and Wednesday’s recipe of the day – mouth-watering red onion and brie tartlets.

Our teams let their creative juices flow by decorating their doors in every merry way they could think of. From gift wrapped doors with bows and tags, to cosy fireplace scenes and cute Santa’s grottos, our doors looked truly magical! The winners were our team in Wrexham with their fabulous North Pole…

Meanwhile, the Managers stepped up to the challenge of a Christmas present Wrap-Off. Armed with wrapping paper and Sellotape, they got to work wrapping boxes at high speed, with HR Manager, Alex Rowlands, coming out on top as the most gifted gift-wrapper of them all.


Thursday was a day that we were all looking forward to… the Christmas Cookie Bake Off! Team members from across New Directions donned their chef hats and aprons to put their baking and icing skills to the test, delivering beautifully decorated festive cookies to the office. Our Swansea team were voted the favourites and we agree – those cookies deserved to win. Did someone say, ‘Great British Bake Off 2020’?

Christmas cookie bake off

Day four also saw a visit from Santa and his little elves, bringing a surprise gift lucky dip for employees, and today’s Christmas recipe was for chestnut stuffing – a Christmas dinner staple.


The final day of Festive Frolics came around all too soon, but the week certainly ended on a high. Friday finished with a special treat for our employees and their friends and families, with a gospel choir singing our favourite Christmas songs in front of the Christmas tree in our courtyard, a special visit from Santa for the little ones, and mulled wine and mince pies for the grown-ups. It’s impossible not to be in the festive spirit after all that!

Merry Christmas from everyone at New Directions and we wish you a very happy New Year too!

Wellness Week 2019 – More Than Just A Workplace https://www.new-directions.co.uk/blog/2019/11/wellness-week-2019-more-than-just-a-workplace/ Fri, 08 Nov 2019 16:15:33 +0000 https://www.new-directions.co.uk/?p=6014
Wellness week

At New Directions, we host a highly anticipated ‘Wellness Week’ every year to promote the health, happiness and wellbeing of our valued employees. As an Investors in People Gold-accredited employer, we are passionate about creating a healthy work environment and company culture that makes us stand out as an employer of choice and makes work life enjoyable for all. We enhance this by hosting themed weeks throughout the year, such as the Easter Egg-Stravaganza, Pride Week and Festive Frolics initiatives. These are inclusive and fun weeks packed with events, activities and games that all employees can get involved in and enjoy, making them keenly awaited events in our work calendars.

This year, Wellness Week took place from Monday 4th November to Friday 8th November. It was a full week bursting with holistic wellbeing activities and events that brightened up the office and injected some healthy fun into our working day.

Fitness Challenges

Every morning kicked off with an invigorating Fitness Challenge. These friendly daily challenges were open to all teams and employees to participate in and they certainly brought out our competitive sides. Congratulations to the winners – you showed us how it’s done!

  • Monday: Plank Off – Christie Thake managed to plank for an impressive 4 minutes
  • Tuesday: Step Up – Josh Mitson stepped up to the challenge with 68 step-ups in a minute
  • Wednesday: Squats – Oliver Tune is the squat king with 69 squats in 60 seconds
  • Thursday: Star Jumps – Oliver Tune reached for the stars, achieving 86 star jumps
  • Friday: Sit Ups – Naomi Ochigbo blew us away with 39 sit-ups in a minute

Friday also saw a highly entertaining Senior Management Challenge take place, with members of our Group Senior Leadership Team (Vicky, Howard and Sophie) battling it out in a range of ‘school sports day’ competitions in the Wellness Week grand finale. Sports day included the traditional egg and spoon race, a beanbag challenge, hula hooping and rope skipping all while wearing questionable costumes, and we can officially say that Sophie Cecil is the most competitive out of all of them!

Wellness Week GSLT Challenge

Healthy Recipes and Snacks

Alongside daily ideas to help us become more active, Wellness Week presented us with a healthy recipe every day, inspiring and empowering us to make positive changes to our diets. Healthy eating is a vital part of maintaining our physical and mental wellbeing. A poor diet can affect multiple aspects of our lives, leaving us feeling tired and lacking in energy. This affects our productivity and happiness, so fuelling your body correctly is essential in maintaining good health.

The healthy recipes shared during Wellness Week included:

  • Shakshuka – a nutritious egg dish, cooked in a tomato sauce with spices and coriander
  • Stilton and broccoli soup – a hearty vegetable-packed meal for chilly winter days
  • Chicken stew – a delicious chicken dish that’s high in flavour and quick to make
  • Lemon and blueberry baked oats – a tasty and satisfying breakfast of champions
  • Banana pancakes – a versatile recipe that you can customise with your favourite toppings

In work hours, it can be all too easy to snack on unhealthy convenience foods between phone calls or while you’re busy at your desk. Therefore, during Wellness Week, healthy alternatives were provided for employees as energy-boosting snacks, encouraging us to make healthier, more informed choices about what we eat. This included fruit, Philadelphia cheese snacks, and delicious Graze bites.

Wellness week Graze snacks

Lunchtime Yoga

Wellness Week was an opportunity for us to enjoy some lunchtime yoga too, which is always a popular highlight of the week. With three yoga sessions led by Siwan of Seren Yoga scheduled throughout the working week, we were able to appreciate some relaxation, stress-reduction and serenity in the middle of our busy workday.

Yoga is widely renowned for its holistic benefits for the body and mind. It is a meditative practice, focusing on mindful breathing, flexibility, strength and muscle tone. Yoga enables us to stretch, release tension from our muscles and improve our posture, leaving us feeling energised, balanced and more body aware. It also benefits our mental wellbeing, helping to calm the mind and create mental clarity, which is paramount in our busy lives. This makes yoga perfect for focusing our attention and sharpening our concentration for the remainder of the working day.

Being beneficial to our physical and mental wellbeing, yoga seemed like the ideal lunchtime activity for Wellness Week and the sessions went down a storm. Regular lunchtime yoga anyone?

25 Year Bike Challenge and More

In celebration of our 25th anniversary at New Directions, we were set the challenge of collectively cycling at least 25 miles every day throughout Wellness Week using the bike machine set up in our breakout area. Monday got off to a good start and it gained further momentum throughout the week, with teams hitting and exceeding the 25 mile target each day.

On top of all these fantastic activities, Wellness Week also included:

  • Several topical wellness Talks of the Day
  • A Health Quiz won by our Swansea Education team
  • Free body MOTs and wellbeing advice from Laguna Health and Spa
  • And a free wellness gift for all employees to end the week

Wellness Week 2019 has been a fantastic success thanks to everyone participating and having fun. We can’t wait for the next one!

If you would love to join our community and work for New Directions, check out our latest vacancies!