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Reflecting on a year of wellbeing (and social responsibility) – Chancery Bar Association (July 2020)

We have had a busy and productive year promoting members’ wellbeing, which is an increasingly important part of the Association’s work and has taken on an even greater role due to the pandemic. We continue to work closely with the Bar Council’s excellent Wellbeing Working Group.

The recent work of the Wellbeing and Social Responsibility Committee (Chair: Amanda Hardy QC, Charlotte May QC, Gary Blaker QC Laurie Scher, Will East, Alison Meacher and Eliza Eagling) has included:

  • An annual programme of Wellbeing events, including presentations from Dr Rangan Chatterjee, GP, author and television doctor, on wellbeing issues and his four pillar plan, focusing on stress management techniques and making small changes for optimal health and performance and from Dr Bill Mitchell, clinical psychologist who teaches on the King’s College, London MSc programme on Mental Health Studies and at the London Business School on resilience.
  • The continuation of our review of retention of women at the Chancery Bar, including round table discussions and evidence gathering by the Chair of the E&D Committee.
  • The development and implementation of the Sexual Harassment Waiver Scheme for the Bar Council, in conjunction with the Property Bar Association.
  • The development and implementation of our Social Mobility programme, including:
    • Sponsorship and involvement in the highly successful Middle Temple programme, placing students with Chancery sets of chambers for a week and then with Chancery Judges. We had filled all our requests for judicial assistance within 48 hours for the first round and the second round is progressing well despite Covid 19.
    • Sponsorships and involvement in the Inner Temple Pegasus Scheme.
    • Development of our flagship partnership with the national charity, Achievement for All, which will involve 90 members of the ChBA volunteering over a two-year period (starting in the academic year 2020/2021) to support severely disadvantaged children at three Inner London Schools.
    • Working with the E&D committee on the issues arising from the recent black lives matters campaign and other diversity issues.
  • Publication by Laurie Scher and Will East of an Article in Counsel Magazine: 8 Ways for Chambers to be more environmentally friendly’.
  • We have developed a programme and infographic for the Bar Council Chambers Social Responsibility initiative with Sam Mercer, Head of Policy at the Bar Council.
  • We have developed and implemented a specific Wellbeing page of resources for members during the Covid 19 pandemic, including guidance and information on self-care, routine, motivation, mindset, eating well, exercise, sleep, staying connected, childcare and finances.
  • We run weekly virtual pilates and yoga classes for ChBA members.
  • We are contributing to a talent retention scheme involving a collaboration between the Wellbeing, E&D and Mentoring committees.
  • We continue to support and publicise the WATB Assistance programme which provides counselling services funded by the BMIF.

Amanda Hardy QC is a barrister at 5 Stone Buildings. She is the Chair of the Chancery Bar Association and Chair of the Wellbeing Sub Committee.